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Medici Portfolio Firm Partners with Caribbean Bank to Pilot Digital Currency

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to issue Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar in partnership with Medici portfolio firm Bitt.

Bitt, a portfolio firm of Overstock’s blockchain firm Medici, has partnered with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to pilot central bank digital currency (CBDC). Overstock announced the news in a press release on March 6.

Barbados-based Bitt initially signed a contract with ECCB to conduct a pilot of the blockchain-issued Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar (DXCD) on Feb. 21. The digital currency will be used within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), and is set to be distributed by licensed financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions in the ECCU.

DXCD intends to facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions between merchants and consumers through smart devices, enabling  transfers across the ECCU. The blockchain pilot aims to promote greater stability in the financial sector, reduce cash usage in the ECCU and foster economic growth in the Caribbean.

Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, said that Bitt’s integration with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank will help advance blockchain technology. He claimed that Bitt’s technology significantly improves payments industry by using blockchain to provide banking options to countries with large “unbanked” populations.

ECCB first signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bitt in March 2018 to use blockchain tech for data management, ensuring compliance, and monitoring transactions.

Founded in 2014, Medici Ventures is a fully-owned blockchain subsidiary of retail giant Overstock. Recently, major investors in Overstock’s crypto subsidiary tZERO reduced their upcoming investment from $404 million to $100 million.

On March 1, the Central Bank of the Bahamas announced its key development partners for creating a digital fiat currency system in the island country. The Bahamas’ “Project Sand Dollar” aims to provide equal access to digital payments capabilities, reduce cash transactions and service delivery costs.

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Slice of Caribbean Paradise on Sale Only With Bitcoin

Sitting with a price tag of £5.3 mln, 13-acres of a Caribbean island is up for sale, but it would mean you have to shell out just over 570 BTC as the sellers are adding to the Bitcoin adoption narrative stating they will only accept cryptocurrency for the property.

There are a number of expensive and luxury properties that have found their way onto the real estate market across the world with price tags only in Bitcoin. A luxury apartment in Notting Hill, a Miami mansion, but even a reasonable house in Grimsby, England, has garnered attention from Bitcoin buyers.

Bloody Bitcoin Bay

The tropical hideaway on Union Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines currently is only a piece of land on a bay called Bloody Bay. However, the sale does come with plans for a villa, as well as a beach bar.

The area has seen some major development, and much like Bitcoin is a burgeoning opportunity.

The land for sale is within a few minutes of a small airport linking Union Island with St Vincent and the other Grenadine islands.

On the neighboring Canouan Island, more than £150 mln has been spent by the owners of the famous Sandy Lane resort in Barbados on developing the Pink Sands Club.

Real Estate hype

While there has been a boom in Bitcoin real estate, its reasoning may not be as simple as a form of adoption.

There is obviously a fresh new wave of interest and keenness from individuals who are looking to accumulate the skyrocketing asset which is being classed as digital gold. By receiving Bitcoin over regular fiat, investors suddenly have a huge influx of a currency that seems unstoppable on its upward trajectory.

However, the real asset is the hype that a Bitcoin price tag brings. Many of these sales that have been in the media recently would never make it outside of the realtors own books. Yet, the news of a Notting Hill apartment and a Miami Mansion have crossed oceans.

The £17 mln mansion in Notting Hill has seen unprecedented interest since it went on sale in October. Lev Loginov, co-founder of property firm London Wall, which is selling the property, said:

“Last week we had 15 viewings. It’s coming from Asia. I don’t think we’ve had anybody older than 30.”

New millionaires

It also helps that those who invested in Bitcoin in the early days have been turned into instant millionaires in this year alone with its massive growth. Bitcoin worth a few hundred dollars only five years ago could now be worth just about enough to buy Bloody Bay.

To that end, by placing a Bitcoin price tag on it, a new market is opened, and it is a market that has never been targeted before.

Loginov adds that it is early miners who own large numbers of Bitcoins:

“It’s lots of young people who got involved in cryptocurrencies at an early stage. Most of them made money from mining cryptocurrencies, and basically, they’re looking to acquire assets.”

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Prime Minister's Son to Head Barbados Bitcoin Startup

Bitt, the blockchain payments startup backed by Overstock’s Medici Ventures, has announced the hiring of a new chief executive officer.

The new CEO, Rawdon Adams, takes the helm of the Barbados-based startup just months after it unveiled an ambitious plan to develop a pan-Caribbean settlement network built with blockchain tech. The plan, Bitt said in May, is to create a way to better connect a region with more than a dozen governments, each with their own currency systems.

The startup has also worked with the Central Bank of Barbados on pilot blockchain initiatives.

The appointment of Adams adds heft to the startup’s regional plans. Rawdon is the son of Tom Adams, who served as the country’s prime minister between 1976 and 1985. Tom Adams, in turn, was the son of Sir Grantley Herbert Adams, the first and only prime minister of the former West Indies Federation.

According to LinkedIn, Rawdon previously worked as an analyst for GE Medical Systems and founded market arbitrage software startup ArbMaker in 2008.

Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, said in a statement:

“Rawdon is the perfect leader to grow and scale Bitt to the next level and bring to fruition Bitt’s initial vision in the Caribbean.”

Overstock, through Medici, invested $4 million in Bitt in April of last year.

Tropical beach image via Shutterstock

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