As the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) marks one year (31 March) since the launch of its DCash pilot project, the Bank is poised to press ahead with further innovation in the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) landscape.
The DCash CBDC will soon add an e-commerce layer to its digital platform, as well as Government-to-Citizen (G2C) functionality, resulting in enhanced payments efficiency, productivity, competitiveness and digital financial inclusion throughout the eight-member Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Anguilla, the only member yet to operationalise the pilot project, will join the DCash ecosystem this year.
The ECCB, which turns 40 next year, views the DCash digital payments platform as a catalyst for sustainable financial development, with its faster and smoother cross-border and in-country transactions that are free of fees during the pilot.
The Bank acknowledges that with its journey into relatively uncharted territory, as the first currency union to deploy a CBDC, will also come lessons and opportunities for further progress. “We are testing and we are learning; as with all innovation around the world, that’s how it works – you test and you learn,” the Governor of the ECCB, Mr Timothy N.J. Antoine, says.
Notably, the Bank has built a strong culture of innovation, and a corollary of this has been global and industry-wide recognition.
Just this month, the ECCB received two awards: The Central Banking 2022 Green Initiative Award for installing a solar energy farm at the Bank’s Basseterre headquarters and significantly reducing its carbon footprint, and the Best New Banknote Series award from Reconnaissance International; these two prestigious awarding authorities are based in the UK.
Last year, the ECCB received the CBDC Infrastructure Award at the FinTech & RegTech Global Awards hosted by Central Banking. Bitt, the technology partner for the DCash pilot, was also named Central Banking’s 2021 Central Bank Digital Currency Partner. In 2017, the ECCB received the Action Learning award.
In 2018, Governor Antoine was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for the Caribbean by GlobalMarkets, which, each year during the IMF/World Bank annual meeting, hosts its prestigious Central Bank Governor of the Year awards ceremony.
During a staff meeting last week, the ECCB Governor told his team, “We are a small central bank, but a leading central bank, and I want to take this moment to celebrate all of you who have shared the vision and embraced these innovations.”
Governor Antoine continued: “The world is taking notice of some of the things we are doing in this Bank, and we should all be proud of what we are achieving together. It should not be lost on us that these awards are for innovations, […many of which] are about touching the lives of the people of the currency union or demonstrating the power of a particular technology, for example with the greening of our campus.”
With the ECCB’s proven track record of innovation and impact, the best appears yet to come for the Bank and the people of the ECCU it proudly serves, as well as for the one-year-old DCash pilot project.
Importantly, the Bank has positioned DCash as a transformative vehicle not just in the digital and financial technology space, but also as it relates to social impact. During the joint country launch of DCash in the Commonwealth of Dominica and Montserrat last December, the ECCB made $1,000.00 donations via DCash to both the President’s Charities Foundation of Dominica and the Rotary Club of Montserrat.
Looking ahead, the ECCB will align DCash with cause-related partnerships to encourage giving and highlight the good that charitable organisations do, in its quest to achieve greater prosperity for the people of the ECCU.
The DCash app is available for free download in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.