Barbados Bitten

The Barbadian dollar is the most recent currency to join the blockchain family. Bitt is a Barbados based remittance channel, digital-asset exchange and merchant-processing gateway that launched last year. Founded in 2013, Bitt has expanded into the world of cryptocurrency and is a frontrunner in the Caribbean’s cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Bitt’s founders, Gabriel Abed and Oliver Gale, told news sources that their goal is to offer a Caribbean financial settlement network that will serve all 15 of the nations in the Caribbean Community. To this end, they have launched a blockchain-based version of the Barbadian dollar. Powered by AlphaPoint, Bitt facilitates trading of 11 international currencies, including the Barbadian dollar.

Setting up this exchange is a way to help the millions of unbanked and underbanked citizens of the Caribbean nations who currently are subject to traditional payment systems such as Western Union and MoneyGram. The founders believe that these payment systems are inefficient and far too expensive for the Caribbean Community and believe the digital wallet is the way to better serve the population.

E-Commerce is not readily available on the islands, but what is available is the mobile phone network. Bitt did their homework and determined that since the islands are 100% mobile, a digital currency is not only possible, but the way to go and will be readily accepted by the population they aim to serve.

Avatar Capital, which provided the seed money for the new venture, is confident that the venture will succeed and sees it as a catalyst for other digital exchanges in that part of the world. AlphaPoint, designed by Wall Street Traders, is the trading platform that will power Bitt in Barbados. It’s powerful, user-friendly exchange interface will allow the Caribbean people to take advantage of the lower-cost fees for payments and remittances that are made possible on digital exchanges. This platform will open the door for an affordable entry into international commerce.

The new exchange is based on the ColoredCoins protocol, which uses torrents, so more information can be packed in the metadata and it also is smart contract compatible. In addition, it supports zero confirmation and single payment verification (SPV) wallet support. Using ColoredCoin, Bitt will leverage layered technology. This technology allows Bitt to create a new asset on top of the bitcoin blockchain. This layer assigns a specific type of asset to a portion of the blockchain with which it’s associated. The digital version of the Barbadian Dollar acts as a digital asset with its own value. Currently that value is 1:1 with the fiat currency.

The government and local regulators can see the transactions on the network as they are peer-to-peer transaction to the wallet. International standards require that currency exchanges (exchanging digital dollars and bitcoins for hard currency) perform know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks in order to do business. Abed says that instituting these checks on its mobile wallet is the next phase of the rollout, which will allow him to compete with MoneyGram and Western Union which he envisions as a teller and ATM network to facilitate the exchange.