Digital Currency Launch in the Eastern Caribbean

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On Wednesday March 31st, the Eastern Caribbean transitions to a new era with the launch of DCash at 2pm AST. DCash is a securely minted digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar issued by the ECCB. It is an innovative, real-time payment option available within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and offers a safer, faster, cheaper method for making payments and sending/receiving funds to and from other DCash users and merchants.

Consumers can access DCash via the official App (Android, iOS), and the DCash Wallet; conduct financial transactions using their smart devices. DCash can be obtained from participating commercial banks, credit unions or other authorized institutions. Let’s review the DCash ecosystem and explore ways that it could help further the development in the Eastern Caribbean particularly as we all try to rebuild our economies in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

What is DCash?

DCash is the secure minting of a digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar (DCash) as legal tender. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is the monetary authority of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), and will remain the sole authority to mint, issue, and redeem DCash. The objectives of the DCash include increasing opportunities for financial inclusion, growth, competitiveness, and resilience for citizens of the ECCU.

DCash users will be able to perform the following actions:

· Pay or transfer money, without fees, in real time with simple steps and easy-to-use interfaces

· Send money instantly to family, friends, and businesses within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU)

· Provide real-time access to transaction records

DCash Merchants

The DCash system relies on as many merchants participating as possible. Anyone interested in becoming a DCash merchant to grow their business and generate invoices and get paid instantly in digital EC currency should consider signing up. The DCash Merchant mobile apps is available on Android and iOS. Earlier this month, the first DCash transaction was successfully completed in Saint Lucia. and we look forward to many more DCash transactions. “1st National Bank is the first financial institution in Saint Lucia to complete a DCash transaction. Executive Manager for Information Technology of 1st National Bank, Mozel Isaac, conducted the transaction when he purchased a meal at J’s Wrap Citi in Gros Islet using DCash. Following the DCash transaction experience late February, Managing Director of 1st National Bank, Johnathan Johannes said, “1st National Bank is very proud to partner with the ECCB to bring DCash to our valued clients in Saint Lucia. When DCash is publicly launched, our customer base will certainly enjoy the benefits of using DCash, which will include safe and instant transactions like the one conducted at Wrap Citi.” Bank of Saint Lucia is another financial institution in Saint Lucia that will be one of the initial pilot participants.

Possible DCash Benefits

The DCash ecosystem could provide numerous benefits to the citizens of the Eastern Caribbean. We hope that the government and the private sector provides incentives to participants to drive the adoption of DCash. Some examples where DCash could provide significant value include the following:

· Cashless Transportation System — Minibus drivers in Saint Lucia have mentioned a cashless system that would provide greater security for drivers and passengers. DCash could serve as a platform for a cashless transportation system with passengers have a contactless way to pay drivers and no longer need to struggle to find exact change.

· Vendors and small enterprises — Most small businesses are unable to afford the infrastructure necessary to accept credit card or other electronic payments. Furthermore, many Saint Lucians are hesitant to carry too much cash due to the escalating crime and make it challenging to pay for goods and services from these small businesses. DCash would be a no-fee option that only requires a mobile phone.

· Inter-island payments. Currently it can be a challenge for a Saint Lucian to send money to family and friends in another island in the Eastern Caribbean even if both islands use the Eastern Caribbean dollar. DCash will make it as easy to send a payment from Vieux Fort to Castries as it would be to send a payment from Castries to St. George’s in Grenada.

· Medical School Students– Saint Lucia has numerous medical schools whose students may not be able to open a traditional bank account in Saint Lucia. The DCash ecosystem could serve as an easier means for these medical school students to pay Saint Lucians for goods and services during their studies in Saint Lucia.

· Government Payments — While the government of Saint Lucia has not seen it necessary to provide economic stimulus to the people of Saint Lucia during these challenging COVID-19 times, it may be possible to leverage the DCash system in the future for such payments as a cheaper and faster payment mechanism.

The continued development of technologically savvy solutions in Saint Lucia is a great indicator that as a developing nation we are prepared to ‘move with the times’. Saint Lucians should look forward to a very successful DCash day on Wednesday March 31st.

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Critical data-driven research analysis of challenges facing Saint Lucia.

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The St. Lucian Analyzer

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Critical data-driven research analysis of challenges facing Saint Lucia.

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