Barbados-based startup Bitt Inc has launched a digital currency exchange after receiving US$1.5 million in venture capital from Avatar Capital. The exchange supports a variety of financial services, particularly mobile digital wallets, e-commerce and international remittances.
Consumers will be able to trade in 11 major currencies, including the dollar, the pound and the euro. Analysts have often argued that digital currencies could prove hugely popular in the Caribbean, where over 60% of residents are unbanked.
“The Bitt Exchange aims to help those without access to banking services. The exchange will bridge the gap between traditional and digital currency markets, helping Caribbean customers to save money on international payments and remittances,” stated Bitt Inc’s co-founder Gabriel Abed.
The biggest beneficiaries will be those who receive large sums of money in remittances from relatives in the United States. The Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which has aggressively lobbied Caribbean governments to develop a legal framework for digital currencies, has repeatedly urged regional governments to lower the cost of remittance transaction fees.
As recently as last month, the ECLAC hosted a meeting with the central bank chiefs of Caribbean countries to debate the opportunities and risks associated with digital currencies.
The digital currency exchange will charge far less for remittance transactions than traditional financial service providers such as Western Union. The founders of Bitt Inc have often stated that they want to see digital currencies stand side by side with traditional currencies in the region.
“By connecting their platform to global exchanges, Bitt can offer Caribbean residents competitive exchange rates and deep liquidity from around the world,” said Vadim Telyatnikov, CEO of AlphaPoint, the US firm whose technology platform is powering the Bitt Inc. platform.