What is the ECCB digital currency (DCash) pilot about?
The DCash pilot involves the secure minting of a digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar (DCash) as legal tender. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is the monetary authority of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), and will remain the sole authority to mint, issue, and redeem DCash.
Why is the ECCB launching the pilot?
The pilot is being launched to address the following recurring issues:
- The relative high cost of current payment methods and banking services
- Inadequacy of banking services in addressing the needs of various customers
- Inefficient methods of settling cheque transactions, which slow the pace of commerce
The objectives of the pilot include increasing opportunities for financial inclusion, growth, competitiveness, and resilience for citizens of the ECCU.
When and where will the DCash pilot take place?
Under the control and supervision of the ECCB, the pilot will be executed in two phases as follows:
- Phase 1 (Development and testing)–began in mid-March 2019
- Phase 2 (Rollout and implementation)– Initial rollout and implementation in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis will commence in the first half of 2021.
How will the DCash pilot be governed and executed?
The ECCB will issue guidelines to pilot participants, which include consumers, merchants, and financial institutions. These guidelines establish all objectives, terms and conditions that should be observed during the pilot. The pilot will be executed in a controlled, live environment where typical operations associated with the issuance, circulation, and redemption of currency can occur.
Why should I participate in the pilot and use DCash?
As a DCash user, you will enjoy the following benefits through the pilot:
- Pay or transfer money, without fees, in real time
- Simple steps and easy-to-use interfaces
- A secure and safe platform to facilitate your DCash storage and transactions
- The ability to send money instantly to family, friends, and businesses within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU)
- No bank account is required
- No minimum spending amount (as in the case of some card payment products)
- No minimum balance required to maintain your DCash account
- Personal digital financial reports, provide real-time access to transaction records
- Privacy and confidentiality of all your transaction information
Is DCash considered legal tender?
Yes. The ECCB considers DCash as legal tender, under currently enacted legislation.
Will merchants continue to accept cash during the DCash pilot?
Yes. The ECCB does not intend to eliminate cash.
How can I participate as a user or merchant in the pilot?
You can onboard to the DCash pilot through participating financial institutions and/or approved service providers. All usual onboarding documentation requirements apply as per any regulated financial service product. The DCash Wallet applications are available to participants at no charge from mobile app stores for iOS & Android device.
How can I get DCash?
You can cash-in physical notes and coins, at participating merchants and approved service providers; or convert funds from your bank account, at a pilot-participating financial intuition, to acquire DCash.
As a consumer, am I protected during the pilot?
Yes. The ECCB guarantees all funds on the DCash network against losses, due to infrastructure failure, for the duration of the pilot. The ECCB cannot be responsible for the loss of DCash that results from the use of weak passwords. You should always use passwords that are sufficiently secure.
How can I learn to use DCash?
The ECCB will facilitate DCash sensitization and awareness campaigns. These will include online demonstrations, training sessions, FAQs, and brochures.
What is the role of a financial institution in the pilot?
A financial institution owns the customer relationship and handles all aspects of service fulfillment and service assurance for DCash customers. This includes Customer Due Diligence (CDD), onboarding, providing information, and tiered support.
What does payment at a DCash pilot merchant look like?
First, you must register with a participating financial institution or an approved service provider. Then, you can acquire DCash by cashing in physical notes and coins or converting funds from your bank account. After that, transactions are performed in three simple steps:
- Scan the merchant’s or recipient’s QR code with your smart device. This will populate your DCash Wallet application with the merchant/recipient's ID and the amount of the transaction. You can also manually enter the ID and transaction amount in the DCash app.
- A message will appear on your device with the transaction details. Confirm or cancel.
- After the transaction clears, a confirmation message will appear. At that point, the payment is considered settled. The balance displayed in your DCash Wallet will decrease by the amount of the transaction and the merchant/recipient's balance will increase by the same amount.
How is DCash created?
When a financial institution requests DCash, the ECCB transfers the amount to the requesting institution. A global limit is set for the total amount of DCash that can be minted/created.
How is DCash issued and distributed?
DCash is issued to the financial institution, and the financial institution distributes it to their customers, on demand. You can redeem DCash for cash at participating merchants or transfer it to an account balance at your pilot-participating financial institution.
How is DCash destroyed?
At the end of the pilot program, the ECCB will redeem and destroy the DCash balances. This will be tracked so we can easily audit how much has been destroyed and determine whether any DCash remains in circulation.
Who owns the final DCash platform?
The pilot is being developed by the ECCB as a test and demonstration of the possibilities of a long-term commercial offering. The pilot platform is owned by ECCB.
How do you determine how much DCash vs notes and coins is allowed in the marketplace?
The ECCB will determine a global limit that would allow the objectives of pilot to be met. Within this limit, the distribution would be determined by the demand for DCash.