Barbados-based blockchain startup Bitt is partnering with the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) to look into issuing a central bank-backed digital currency for the two nations.
Bitt, a portfolio company of Overstock’s Medici Ventures, said Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the central bank for the Dutch Caribbean island Curaçao and Netherlands constituent country Sint Maarten earlier this month. The goal of the deal is to jointly examine the possibility of issuing a digital Curaçao and Sint Maarten guilder to replace the current Netherlands Antillean guilder.
The project will focus in part on testing know-your-customer/anti-money laundering (KYC/AML) technology, according to statements.
CBCS acting president Leila Matroos-Lasten said the bank signed the MOU with Bitt “due to this company’s regional experience in digital payments and its macroeconomic views.”
“The central bank is determined to address its challenges proactively by exploring the latest technology available, for example, to reduce the level of cash usage within the monetary union, and to facilitate more secure, more AML and KYC compliant and more efficient financial transactions within and between Curaçao and Sint Maarten.”
The MOU signifies that the bank recognizes the potential improvements that technology can bring, she added.
“The CBCS … is committed to exploring solutions regarding the efficiency of cross-jurisdictional transactions and digital payments whilst ensuring compliance and security assurances obtained by these state of the art [fintech] solutions,” Matroos-Lasten was quoted as saying. “This would be beneficial to everyone.”
The news comes a few months after Bitt signed a similar MOU with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, a central banking institution that covers Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
That trial may be used to develop new digital payment and settlement systems, and if successful, could ultimately help the bank issue a cryptocurrency of its own, as previously reported by CoinDesk.