Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Takes CBDC Live

Today In Digital First Banking: Central Banks Of UAE, China Join CBDC Effort;

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has unveiled its central bank digital currency DCash, making it the second central bank officially entering the CBDC realm.

According to the ECCB, DCash is “a securely minted digital version” of the Eastern Caribbean dollar issued by the bank, which is based in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“It offers a safer, faster, cheaper way to pay for goods and services and send EC funds to other DCash users all using a smart device,” the ECCB said in its announcement Wednesday, noting it had been working with “Bitt Inc for over two years to develop this digital version of the EC currency in an effort to increase financial inclusion, competitiveness and resilience for the people of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.”

According to The Block, which tracks digital currency news, the launch of DCash is noteworthy because “it’s the first example of a central bank within a currency union to go live with a CBDC.

Currency unions are multi-country agreements pledging to maintain the same currency or keep prices between currencies similar. St. Kitts and Nevis is part of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union with seven other nations, although DCash will only be used in four of them: St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

The ECCB’s currency follows the rollout last year of the Sand Dollar, a digital currency backed by the Central Bank of the Bahamas.

But while only two central banks have released digital currencies so far, don’t expect them to remain outliers.

As PYMNTS reported last year, central banks around the world are working to implement digital currency as the use of physical cash lessens.

According to a survey by the Bank of International Settlements, 86 percent of the 65 banks polled said they were at least in the opening stages of creating a digital currency, with 15 percent embarking on pilot programs. The Block notes that China, Russia and Japan are all among the countries testing the digital currency waters.