Barbados may have found an answer to the “creeping cancer” of the de-risking of corresponding banking with the launch today of a new digital currency.
The Bittcoin, which can be accessed by downloading a special application on a mobile phone or computer, was officially launched by the Barbadian financial technology company Bitt.com, thanks to a $32 million investment by the American online retailer Overstock.com and a partnership with Trinidad and Tobago’s Avatar Capital.
While Chief Executive Officer of the investing company Dr Patrick Byrne compared its launch to the introduction of the world wide web, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler saw it as a hedge against the “creeping cancer of the corresponding banking de-risking issue which we are faced with in the Caribbean.
“This one [de-risking] portends potential disastrous consequences for many of our countries. I know several of our Caribbean countries are being impact at greater levels than Barbados, but we are not immune from it because cancer spreads and it has started,” Sinckler said at today’s ceremony at Courtyard by Marriott in Hastings, Christ Church, including Bitt.com founders Gabriel Abed and Oliver Gale; President of the Bankers Association of Barbados Glyne Harrison and Vice President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions Hally Haynes.
The minister added that remittances, commercial transactions and philanthropic contributions were under threat and lamented that this new imposition, mainly by the United States, was hindering ordinary commercial and business transactions and robbing the region of billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings.
He warned the principals of the new Barbadian company that the US would eventually get around to them as it seeks to rid the world of terrorism and other vices.
Sinckler also promised that Government would seek to amend the appropriate legislation such as the Financial Management and Audit Act so the digital dollar could be legally used by the public sector.
The value of the Bitt.com venture has been assessed by the investor at $100 million with the potential of creating hundreds of high-paying jobs hyere.
In fact, Jeremy Stephen, the economic advisor and shareholder with the local firm told Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of today’s ceremony that as many as 100 jobs are likely by year end.
The Bittcoin has received the blessings of local regulator, the Financial Services Authority, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, as well as the banking and credit union communities.