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ECCB rolls out DCash | The Montserrat Reporter

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Posted on 23 September 2022.

by Bennette Roach – April 1, 2022

DCash and Montserrat

When Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) boasted, “our digital currency DCash is the first monetary union in the world to launch a digital currency”, that was him speaking on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.

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.  

The boast then was made on the occasion the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s (ECCB) Governor hosted in Dominica in a virtual launch, expressed his pleasure to be rolling out the DCash pilot to two additional member countries in the Commonwealth of Dominica and Montserrat. DBS Radio in the Commonwealth of Dominica and ZJB Radio in Montserrat provided live radio coverage of the day’s launch from 2:00 p.m.

“I’m delighted to welcome the commonwealth of Dominica and Montserrat to our DCash family, and I feel in a sense as if this being the Christmas season, that we’ve presented a gift to the people of Montserrat and Dominica, by presenting and launching DCash.

Governor Antoine Remarks at DCash Launch in the Commonwealth of Dominica and Montserrat

“Payments are the lifeblood of every economy,” the Governor said in his opening remarks.

In March 2021, DCash – the digital version of the EC dollar – was launched in four of the eight-member ECCU countries, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis, and Saint Lucia, then in August in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

After today’s launch, the remaining member country where DCash will be launched is Anguilla.

“The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank truly believes that the payment system should work for all, except for illicit actors,” Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Mr. Timothy N.J. Antoine said, addressing the justification for creating the DCash Central Bank Digital Currency. “That means it must work for small states and small businesses,” the ECCB Governor added while noting that presently, “payments are too slow and too expensive.”

 So, how does this DCash work?

The free DCash (Digital Cash) app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store enables users to send and receive money from their family members, friends, or customers who live in the same country or in any other Eastern Caribbean country where DCash has been launched. DCash transactions are processed in real-time, with no transfer fees during the pilot project.

DCash, which can be used with or without a bank account, is aimed at achieving three policy goals: payment system efficiency, financial inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked populations, and increased resilience and competitiveness in the ECCU.

The ECCB Governor explained. “All of these goals are aimed at boosting economic growth, but ultimately at propelling our agenda of socioeconomic transformation for the shared prosperity of the people of our Currency Union. That is always fundamentally what is at stake here – shared prosperity for the people we serve – and we believe that to do that, we have to transform the region, and DCash is an important instrument in what is really the bigger conversation about the buildout of a digital economy for our Currency Union,”

“Our single largest asset as a Central Bank is trust, and therefore we believe we have an obligation to leverage that trust to help build out the digital economy – and we locate DCash as an important advance in the ultimate digitalisation of our economy and society,” Governor Antoine also said.

Unwrap the Gift

In concluding his brief opening remarks the Governor by making the point: “… the fundamental value proposition of DCash is – faster, cheaper and safer. It’s faster than anything you will find on the market; it’s cheaper than anything you will find on the market and it’s safer than anything you will find. But our motivation is not to make a profit.

“This investment by your central bank has been done in your name and for you and the benefits to be derived are for you the people of our currency union. So our satisfaction will come from seeing people use the cash, and as a man of faith, and as I reflect in this Christmas season and this yuletide season I can think of a gift that has been given to us that which some of us have not yet unwrapped.”

“I’ll leave you to think about that and I will simply say to you DCash is a gift that has been presented to you please unwrap and use the gift.”

 The photo of the launch shows those in Montserrat who officiated in the rollout. They were Miss Maureen Estwick, Resident ECCB agent who gave the vote of thanks for the virtual event, Mr. Baldwin Taylor, Manager of Bank of Montserrat (BoM); Mr. Peter Queeley, Manager, St. Patrick’s Co-operative Credit Union (SPCCU); and, Mr. Manish Valecha, DCash Merchant, Agent, and End-user.

These, representing the two financial institutions and DCash agency in Montserrat, all gave brief accolades about the DCash product and its introduction.  Mr. Valecha in his brief, expressed his pleasure, lamenting he didn’t know how people managed to do business before and that “…DCash is here, faster, cheaper and safer way to pay for goods and services locally and regionally as well as ECCB is on its way providing social and economic activity through DCash…”

Mr. Queeley thanked ECCB for its foresight, efficiency, and inclusiveness, enhancing financial activity, adding: “…secondly, I wish to further congratulate the ECCB for having the wisdom and foresight to include small non-banking institutions such as the Credit Union in the participation in the rollout of DCash in Montserrat and indeed in the ECCU region…”

BoM Manager Mr. Taylor expressed being honoured to be a part of “this rollout of DCash! It fits right into the strategic objectives of Bank of Montserrat to make banking, more efficient, faster, and cheaper for our customers, fitting into the theme of DCash,” he said.

Deputy Premier of Montserrat, Honourable Samuel Joseph, representing the Government said of DCash: “…this digital revolution has the potential to raise the income level in the region… the OECS face numerous challenges, but our region will not be defined by the adversities but how we deal with them.

Minister of Digital Economy, Honourable Cassanni Laville, Commonwealth of Dominica at DCash Launch said at the virtual host site in Dominica, “We wholeheartedly embrace the launch of DCash, and I encourage merchants and consumers especially in Dominica and Montserrat and all the other participating countries to sign on and use this service. I have already done so and I must say it is easy to use.

When the DCash pilot project rolled out a year ago consumers signed up to use the new currency either through a participating financial institution or via an authorised DCash agent.

The ECCB rolled out DCash initially in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis, and Saint Lucia as part of the ECCB’s Digital Currency Pilot.

To learn more about the ECCB’s DCash pilot project, log on to www.dcashec.com and its Facebook page @DCashECCU.

https://www.facebook.com/DCashECCU/videos/455473186166908
DCash Launch Event – Commonwealth of Dominica and Montserrat



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Anguilla

History & culture of the eastern Caribbean islands

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The Eastern Caribbean is a region that includes a number of small island nations and territories in the Caribbean Sea. These islands have a rich history and culture that have been shaped by a variety of influences, including African, Caribbean, European, and indigenous peoples.

The first inhabitants of the Eastern Caribbean were indigenous peoples who migrated to the region thousands of years ago. These people included the Arawaks, Caribs, and Tainos, who were skilled farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen.

The first European explorers to reach the Eastern Caribbean were the Spanish, who arrived in the region in the late 15th century. The Spanish claimed the islands for their own and began to establish settlements, plantations, and mines. However, they were soon challenged by the English, French, and Dutch, who also wanted to control the region.

The Eastern Caribbean became a battleground for these European powers, who fought over control of the islands for more than two centuries. The islands were eventually divided among the European powers, with the English, French, and Dutch each controlling a number of islands.

During this period, the islands became a melting pot of cultures, with African slaves brought to the region to work on the plantations, and Europeans, Africans, and indigenous peoples mixing and intermingling. This led to the development of a unique culture and identity for the Eastern Caribbean, which is still evident today.

Today, the Eastern Caribbean is a diverse and vibrant region with a rich history and culture. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant music and dance traditions. The region also has a thriving tourism industry, with many visitors coming to the islands to experience the unique culture and beauty of the Eastern Caribbean.

In addition to its rich history and culture, the Eastern Caribbean is also known for its natural beauty. The islands are home to a variety of landscapes, including white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and mountains. The region is also home to a number of protected areas and national parks, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many species that are found nowhere else in the world.

The Eastern Caribbean is also an important economic region, with many of the islands relying on tourism as a major source of income. The region is also known for its production of spices, particularly nutmeg, which is one of the main exports of the region. In addition, the islands are home to a number of small-scale industries, including fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The Eastern Caribbean is also a popular destination for sailors, with many of the islands offering excellent sailing conditions and a number of marinas and yacht clubs. The region is also home to a number of major sailing events, including the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and the Caribbean 600 race.

Overall, the Eastern Caribbean is a fascinating and diverse region with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty. The islands offer a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, from relaxing on beautiful beaches to exploring the region’s vibrant culture and history.

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Montserrat

Singapore – UK businesses agreement opens new fintech market

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  • The UK and Singapore agree a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge to remove barriers to fintech trade and boost cooperation
  • This will deepen engagement between businesses, and regulators, adding to previous co-operation
  • Policymakers from both the UK and Singapore will meet regularly with the fintech sector to work to remove regulatory barriers to trade

LONDON, England – The UK and Singapore have agreed to a new MoU boosting fintech trade and cooperation at their 7th Financial Dialogue in Singapore today, 25 November.

The Fintech Bridge builds on an agreement signed in 2016 – which will remove barriers to fintech trade by opening new regular talks between regulators and businesses, in addition to previous areas of cooperation

This will increase the cooperation and sharing of information on emerging trends in the fintech sector. It will also break down barriers to trade for UK and Singaporean fintechs, boosting growth and investment opportunities.

Andrew Griffith MP, economic secretary to the treasury, said:

“The UK and Singapore are among the world’s leading jurisdictions for fintech investment – and today’s announcement will only accelerate growth and innovation in our respective sectors. The MoU we’ve announced today is crucial – and I would like to thank the Monetary Authority of Singapore for their constructive engagement throughout discussions.”

Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) of Innovate Finance, Janine Hirt said:

“Innovate Finance welcomes this announcement. An MoU between UK and Singapore will deliver a strengthened framework for vital regulatory and policy discussions between the two countries, enable innovation across financial services, and ensure businesses based in both the UK and Singapore have the ongoing support for their ambitions for growth to be realised.

“We look forward to supporting future financial dialogues and business-to-business activity between these markets. We are also delighted to be working with the key organisations engaged to promote the opportunities this FinTech bridge has to offer, and to welcoming FinTech businesses to IFGS and UK FinTech Week next year.”

Miles Celic, chief executive officer, TheCityUK, said:

“The UK and Singapore are two of the world’s most dynamic and innovative FinTech markets. The FinTech Bridge will drive exciting new opportunities and greater alignment of regulatory approaches will help with the expansion of FinTechs from the UK and Singapore into each other’s markets. Greater cooperation between government, regulators and industry will boost innovation and drive better outcomes for customers.”

This MoU will also further deepen the engagement and opportunities between two of the premier international financial and related professional services centres.

The existing Regulatory Cooperation Agreement signed in 2016 has enabled the UK and Singaporean fintech sectors to closely align at a regulatory level. Today’s commitment goes further in a number of areas, making clear the business support available to firms, highlighting opportunities in each other’s markets and creating a clear link between challenges firms face and policy discussions.

The MoU will come into effect next week once formalities have been completed on both sides.

Source: HM Treasury



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UK sets out five-point economic action plan for the G20

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Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak

LONDON, England – UK prime minister Rishi Sunak will call for coordinated global action to address international economic instability and the rising cost of living when he attends the G20 Summit this week. The meeting in Indonesia comes as countries around the world face huge economic difficulties, caused or exacerbated by the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the prime minister’s office noted Monday.

“Every household on the planet is feeling the impact of Putin’s war. Global food prices have been driven up by his attempts to choke off the Ukrainian grain supply, energy bills have skyrocketed thanks to Russia turning off their gas taps and the World Bank predicts the economic aftershocks will ripple around the world for years to come.”

This week’s meeting will be the first time a UK prime minister has met a representative of the Russian regime since Putin’s full-scale invasion in February. Russian foreign minister Lavrov is expected to attend the talks instead of Putin. The prime minister will use the G20 as an opportunity to call out Putin’s barbarism and force Russia to confront the global suffering caused by this senseless campaign of violence.

“The best and quickest way to alleviate these problems is for Putin to withdraw from Ukraine. But while this war continues, the world’s most powerful economies have a crucial role to play in addressing the desperate global economic situation,” said 10 Downing Street.

G20 leaders first met during the global financial crisis in 2008, in recognition of the fact that our complex and international economic system cannot function without coordinated action from the most powerful economies. This year, the world is looking to the G20 again to ensure the stability of international markets and alleviate the burden on the world’s poorest people.

Ahead of this week’s summit prime minister Sunak has set out a five-point economic action plan for leaders to address the current global instability, covering changes to the global energy market, international food supply and the world financial system.

This action will ensure a firm platform for the domestic measures the Chancellor will set out in this week’s Autumn statement.

The prime minister said:

“Later this week the Autumn Statement will set out how we will get this country on the right path, put public finances on a stable footing and get debt falling. Creating a stable international system that protects the most vulnerable will be a core part of that work.

“But addressing the biggest economic crisis in a decade will require a concerted effort by the world’s largest economies – these are not problems we can solve alone. At the G20, leaders need to step up to fix the weaknesses in the international economic system which Putin has exploited for years.”

Under the five-point economic action plan, prime minister Sunak will call on fellow leaders to:

  • Direct government support to where it’s most needed. Using government support effectively to prioritise the most vulnerable, both in our own countries and internationally.
  • End the weaponisation of food production and distribution. Taking immediate action to support the global food trade to reduce the cost of living for all and save the lives of those at risk of starvation. This includes calling for the Black Sea Grain Initiative to be renewed on 19 November and a G20-wide commitment never to weaponise food production and distribution.
  • Strengthen our energy security and reduce energy dependence on Russia. We must bring an end Russia’s stranglehold over international energy prices. As part of these efforts we will work with partners to unlock the investment needed to accelerate the green transition – the best way of protecting ourselves from those who have perpetually used hydrocarbons to bully and coerce.
  • Open up global trade. This includes by advancing bilateral free trade agreements and through reform of the World Trade Organization. We need a WTO fit to release the opportunities of the 21st century while tackling the manipulation of global markets by malign actors.
  • Providing honest, reliable finance to help developing countries grow sustainably. Ensuring that the international financial system has the firepower needed to help developing countries grow without becoming dependent on their lenders. This includes rapid action to help poor countries better manage their debt burdens and providing an alternative to developing countries borrowing from exploitative sources.

“These efforts form part of the prime minister’s drive to place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. That means, being a constructive and reliable member to the global economy, and using our influence to create a stronger international economic system,” said the prime minister’s office, 10 Downing Street.



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