Caribbean CBDC Stays Down for More Than a Month as Technical Woes Continue

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 Inc to develop the CBDC.

Josh Lipsky, Director of the GeoEconomics Center of US think tank The Atlantic Counciltold 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.