Overstock announced last week a strategic investment in Bitt, a financial technology company that aims to encourage Caribbean island countries to adopt digital national currencies. The Utah-based online retailer is investing $4 million in Bitt initially.
“A major impediment to economic advancement around the world is the fact that the vast majority of humans are unbanked. Yet mobile penetration in some countries exceeds 100%. Bitt has a vision for the Caribbean of frictionless mobile cash, beginning with central banks transparently issuing digital fiat which is then exchanged on a blockchain (all under proper regulatory oversight, as with our t0 offering to Wall Street),” said Overstock.com CEO Patrick M. Byrne in a press release (clarification: the hyperlink to CoinReport’s news report titled “Overstock creates blockchain-powered private bond” is not present in Byrne’s quote in the press release on Overstock’s website).
“We respect and endorse that vision, and share a common desire to see online consensual exchange flourish globally. As they say around these parts, ‘One love.’”
Bitt plans to use the funds to attain its goal of creating a financial ecosystem in the Caribbean that resolves the problems people in the region face, such as high frictional fees from banks and cumbersome, costly remittance services.
“Regional small businesses find it financially prohibitive to offer online payment options to consumers and this places a drag on entrepreneurism in the Caribbean,” said Bitt CEO and co-founder Gabriel Abed in the press release. “Our aim is to use crypto-technology to turn our regional citizens into global citizens, giving them the ability to send or receive money directly via their phones, in seconds, from all corners of the globe.”
Earlier this year, Bitt launched a digitized Barbadian Dollar, backed by the Central Bank of Barbados, on the bitcoin blockchain. The firm plans to digitize all fiat currencies in the Caribbean region and place them on the blockchain so they can be easily traded among the islands.
Bitt logo – Via an email CoinReport received previously from Bitt’s then-marketing lead/now-operations manager, Anton Nicholls
Patrick Byrne’s photo – Courtesy of Overstock