Overstock and others invested into a blockchain-forward financial technology firm in the Caribbean seeking to create the Bardian digital dollar.
“A major impediment to economic advancement around the world is the fact that the vast majority of humans are unbanked,” Overstock Chief Executive Patrick Byrne said at the time. “Yet mobile penetration in some countries exceeds 100 percent. Bitt has a vision for the Caribbean of frictionless mobile cash, beginning with central banks transparently issuing digital fiat which is then exchanged on a blockchain.”
Bitt, Inc.’s Barbadian digital currency is designed to function on a blockchain while also backed by the Central Bank of Barbados. The Barbados Digital Dollar should make it more efficient to send and receive Barbados dollars.
At the time, Bitt co-founder and CFO Oliver Gale said:
The Barbadian Digital Dollar is easy to send to anyone, with a few gestures on your mobile device. Commerce can be done with less friction, payment(s) can be made instantly, auditors can cryptographically verify the signatures with unparalleled security.
CEO Gabriel Abed added: “One of our digital Barbados dollars is equivalent to one dollar issued by the Central Bank of Barbados. What we do is allow people to do more with their money.”
Bitt provides services such as exchange, mobile wallet and remittances. The company is also credited with founding the first crypto exchange in the island nation.
A well-publicized report surfaced in December 2015, in which two Barbadian economists suggested the Central Bank of Barbados hold a small portion of Bitcoin in its foreign reserves. The economists stated:
Within recent years, the proportion of digital transactions done using digital currencies has grown significantly. As a result, it is possible that digital currency could become a key currency for settling transactions.