ECCB to issue world’s first blockchain-based digital currency

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. (Bitt), have signed a contract to conduct a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

This ECCB-CBDC pilot is the first of its kind and will involve a securely minted and issued digital version of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) denominated DXCD (Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar).

The DXCD will be distributed and used by licensed financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions in the ECCU, and will be used for financial transactions between consumers and merchants, including peer-to-peer transactions, all using smart devices.

Timothy N. J. Antoine, ECCB’s Governor, emphasised that, ‘Not only will the digital EC Dollar be the world’s first digital legal tender currency to be issued by a central bank on blockchain but this pilot is also a live CBDC deployment with a view to an eventual phased public rollout. The pilot is part of the ECCB’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021.’

The ECCB is now poised to embark on the DXCD pilot from March 2019. The pilot will be executed in two phases over twelve months: development and testing, followed by the roll out and implementation phase in pilot countries, spanning about six months. As part of the pilot implementation, the ECCB will ramp up its sensitisation and education initiatives to facilitate active public engagement throughout all member countries.