Cryptocurrency, Caricom and Financial Inclusion.

A few days ago I was graciously gifted 0.0357 lites (Litecoin) which works out to $10 US or $1,295.79 JMD. All I had to do was download a cryptocurrency wallet (another friend with much more experience suggested Jaxx mobile wallet), give my Litecoin address and wait for the transfer. At the time of writing, 1 LTC is trading for $287.19 USD according to coinmarketcap.com, which means I would need 3,481.97969 Litecoins to become a millionaire. Will I ever get there? Only time will tell!

However, due to the rate at which cryptocurrencies have been minting millionaires and billionaires across the globe, a deluge of hype has been created around the technology which have awaken the concerns of policymakers and financial regulators, especially those in the Caribbean.

Currently, there are two upstarts trying to claim the Caribbean and help the region cash in on the crypto-boom:

  1. Caricoin Ltd – a UK-based company with development offices in Kingston, Jamaica.  It is focused on transforming the Caribbean’s economy by delivering a secure, user-friendly and less costly way of storing wealth and moving it around. Caricoin has been working to enter the Jamaican market since 2016 and according to its website, it was “created specifically with the needs of the Caribbean people in mind.”
  2. Bitt – a Barbados-based Bitcoin wallet and payments solution with the mission to financially empower everyone and provide infrastructure to support a digital financial ecosystem throughout the Caribbean, that will stimulate economic growth and financial access for this and future generations.

These startups, according to their founders, aim to provide new and better ways for consumers to have access to credit and the global economy which will fuel the growth of the local economies.

However, based on the volatility and level of financial inclusion that is required before being able to purchase or mine cryptocurrencies, both in terms of Internet and financial access (let’s be very honest here; the average unbanked or underbanked individual is not mildly interested in the highly technical and costly process of mining Bitcoin) is cryptocurrency truly the answer to Caricom’s financial inclusion problems? Especially in this era when less anonymity is being required by foreign banks and financial institutions?

Again, only time will tell!

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