ECCB Wins Global Award for DCash Project

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has captured the Central Banking Publications FinTech and RegTech Global Award for its pioneering DCash Project.

The FinTech and RegTech Global Awards celebrate the innovations and achievements of central banks and technology partners around the world, in the areas of financial and regulatory technology.

The ECCB’s DCash Project, which was developed with technology partner Bitt Inc., and successfully launched on 31 March during the COVID-19 pandemic, received the award for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Infrastructure. The award recognises CBDC proof-of-concept or pilot, which has been designed for the purpose of either financial inclusion, payment efficiency, or transition towards a less cash reliant society.

In his acceptance speech, Governor of the ECCB Timothy N. J. Antoine said, “Financial inclusion and empowerment are at the heart of our innovation, DCash.” He said, “This award will encourage and energise us as we press forward on our transformation agenda.”

Rachael King, Chair of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Associate Editor of Central Banking, stated that, “[Bitt] provided a central bank with a complete end-to-end CBDC solution, from technology development through to marketing and training for consumers and stakeholders”.

Chief Executive Officer, Brian Popelka, proudly commented, “It’s immensely gratifying to be recognised by the thought-leaders of your industry, especially when it’s for your work in charting a new course. The pandemic was certainly a challenging time, but we’re proud that our team was able to persevere and launch the world’s first CBDC in a currency union”.

The DCash Project was developed with the objective of increasing financial inclusion, growth and resilience in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) by directly addressing some of issues with the region’s payment methods and banking services such as high costs and inefficiencies. Through the DCash Project, the ECCB has created infrastructure through which users of the DCash App can pay merchants or send digital EC funds, DCash, to other users of the App, in mere seconds, using a smart device.

Bitt is the technology partner for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s (ECCB) DCash pilot. This pilot provides a live cross-border case study of Bitt’s Digital Currency Management System (DCMS) within every level of the financial ecosystem within a currency union including the central bank, financial institutions, government agencies, businesses, organisations and consumers.

Popelka acknowledged everyone involved in the ongoing CBDC pilot, “Thank you to the Governor and staff of the ECCB for engaging and trusting Bitt as a proud partner on this historic journey. On behalf of our board, investors and the entire team at Bitt, thank you – Central Banking – for awarding Bitt as the 2021 Central Bank Digital Currency Partner”.

Commenting on the award, Simon Chantry, Co-Founder of Bitt, stated: “Thank you to Central Banking for recognising our achievements with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). We look forward to a lot more to come.”

The DCash project is one of the ECCB’s strategic initiatives aimed at ensuring a strong, diversified and resilient financial sector.

DCash has been in public circulation in four of the eight ECCB member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis and Saint Lucia, since 31 March. It will be rolled out in the remaining ECCB member countries, Anguilla, Commonwealth of Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, by September.