Governments and businesses in the Caribbean are turning to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to address economic and financial issues.
For some time, the region has been experiencing sluggish growth and high debt rates, with U.S. banks withdrawing capital from Caribbean markets. A deficit of banking services resulted from de-risking policies, and local banks and authorities are dealing with restricted access to foreign exchange reserves as they have been accused of aiding money-laundering practices – in turn affecting Caribbean economies heavily dependent on tourism and international trade.
The latest regional institution to embrace cryptocurrencies is the CTO or the Caribbean Tourism Organization which has an agreement with the Barbados-based blockchain company Bitt Inc. to facilitate “the implementation of more efficient payment processes for tourism products and services.”
To help “foster broader economic participation in community-based tourism and related sectors” with the use of cryptocurrencies, a memorandum of understanding has been signed by both parties which intend to implement an efficient and cost-effective digital payment method for products and services in the tourism industry.
CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley told the Caribbean News Digital that “The Caribbean aims to fully examine the advantages offered by the new financial technology.” Riley believes that blockchain services have the potential to aid specific activities and programs in the industry, stressing that “The CTO has a responsibility, on behalf of our members, to fully explore these possibilities.”
Bitt CEO Rawdon Adams said, “Tourism is the largest single contributor to the Caribbean economy. It is absolutely critical to every single Caribbean nation’s well-being and development. We see this as a very natural and necessary association.” He added, “We know how transformational our technology can be.”