The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) officially launched its digital currency – DCash on Wednesday, touting the initiative as being safer, faster and cheaper.
Saint Lucia is one of four pilot countries where the public can obtain DCash.
The other countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis.
Earlier this month, 1st National Bank became the first financial institution in Saint Lucia to complete a DCash transaction.
Speaking at Wednesday’s official DCash launching ceremony, ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine said he believes that the digital economy is a principal pathway to socio-economic transformation and shared prosperity.
“Payments are the lifeblood of every economy,” Antoine declared.
As a result, he noted that the ECCB regards the payment system as a public good.
Antoine explained that the payment system should work for all, except illicit actors.
And he highlighted the advantages of digital cash over physical currency.
According to Antoine, unlike physical cash, people cannot steal digital cash.
“In the context of the ongoing pandemic where physical and social distancing are required, DCash offers a contactless method of payment that serves us well in our new normal,” the ECCB Governor stated.
Antoine also asserted that payments and transfers are ‘near instantaneous’ – about three seconds.
In addition, he disclosed that there’s no charge for D-Cash transactions because the ECCB has made that upfront investment.
According to the ECCB Governor, the bank has been careful to imbed anti money laundering and combatting financing of terrorism protocols in the DCash design.
He also said it incorporates industry standards and best practices as they relate to cyber security.
The DCash pilot phase will run for 12 months.
Afterwards, the ECCU will roll the initiative out to other member states of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
The ECCB says consumers can gain access via the DCash App on their smart devices.
They may also obtain DCash from their commercial banks, credit unions or other authorised institutions.
In addition to the payment functionalities, users of DCash can send money to friends and family who also use the DCash App.
Headline photo caption: Timothy Antoine (Stock image)