While many affluent countries have adopted Bitcoin for the sake of learning and accessing an advanced payment technology, there are still many small regions whose citizens are even deprived of basic banking facilities — Caribbean being one of them.
According to some reports, over 60% of the Caribbean population — knowingly or unknowingly — have kept itself away from accessing the banking services. There are many reasons for that. The first one could be the lack of proper banking infrastructure, while others may be related to people’s insecurities towards corrupt banking practices during the unstable economical periods.
Oliver Gale, the co-founder CEO of the Caribbean’s first Bitcoin exchange BITT, somewhat recognizes the leftism in the local’s mindsets towards the banking sector. While referring the traditional financial systems as outdated, he indirectly highlights Bitcoin as its potential alternative and states:
“They [Caribbean Banks] have huge buildings and many employees. They have paper systems, centralized management ledgers. [But] everything you can pay for in cash, I can pay for in Bitcoin.”
BITT’s co-founder and CFO Gabriel Abed further recognizes their company’s potential role in redefining the Caribbean banking sector. “We serve the international market,” he says, “but are focused and centered on the Caribbean offering the core services of mobile digital wallets, international remittances and e-commerce merchant solutions utilizing new software called bitcoin and blockchain.”
Both Abed and Gale also attended a meeting sponsored by the Economic Commission of Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC), a UN-led organization responsible for drafting financial policies in the region. In the meeting, they got the chance to understand the bold perceptions of regulators and representatives of digital currency companies to shape up a definite banking framework for the Caribbean population. ECLAC meanwhile also raised the issues related to the highly expensive remittance service market, that left the BITT’s owners with an idea to replace such services with Bitcoin.
As has predicted by many experts, Bitcoin is a one-stop solution for the impoverished and unbanked people around the globe. It could be used not only to store wealth, but also as a greater alternative to move money across the world without paying excessive bank commissions. An organization like ECLAC understands Bitcoin’s capabilities as a game-changer in finance market, and has plans to review the national policies to implement this technology.
Meanwhile, both BITT and ECLAC also have some challenges down the road in order to take Bitcoin to their desired conclusion. These challenges include: “lack of e-commerce-supporting legislation, inadequate technical capability and difficulties working with some local banks.”
As BITT is scheduled to start operating on March 30th, the company’s first few months will create a more elaborated hint for the government to drive future digital currency regulations. However, it is still a greater step to bring Bitcoin to a highly unbanked society, a thing digital currency was always meant to do in the first place.