Source: AdobeStock / Debbie Ann Powell
DCash, a central bank digital currency (CBDC) commissioned by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), has remained offline for more than a month as technical issues continue to impact the platform, triggering growing concern among its users.
“The DCash platform remains unavailable, resulting in the temporary inability of all users to conduct transactions,” the CBDC operator said in a statement from February 14, the latest update to date.
It added that “[t]he ECCB continues to work with service provider Bitt Inc to restore full system functionality.”
The ECCB announced in mid-January that the platform had suffered an “interruption” that did not compromise any data, but it forced DCash’s operator to halt all transactions.
DCash is a digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar. The digital payment option was put to use in five island economies that lie in the region: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
To roll out DCash under a pilot project, the ECCB partnered with a number of banks, credit unions, and businesses, and commissioned service provider Bitt Incto develop the CBDC.
Josh Lipsky, Director of the GeoEconomics Center of US think tank The Atlantic Council, told Bloomberg that the woes encountered by the CBDC’s operator highlighted the difficulties faced by countries that decide to launch their respective central bank-backed cryptoassets.
“This is an important case study in things that can go wrong in the rollout and expansion of a digital currency,” Lipsky said. “Every country trying [to] do a large rollout has had problems.”
Despite this, Geo. F. Huggins & Co., a Grenada-based holding that was the first business to accept a DCash payment about a year ago, remains convinced that the CBDC could become a key part of the region’s payments landscape.
“As we start to emerge from [COVID-19], we think that DCash will become one of the preferred payment options in the near future,” said Najuma Francis-Patrick, Corporate Marketing Manager at Geo. F. Huggins & Co.
The Eastern Caribbean CBDC was launched in March 2021. Meanwhile, the Barbados-based Bitt has been involved in various CBDC projects across the globe, including the roll-out of Nigeria’s eNaira.