The 21st century has brought with it a plethora of technological innovations in the financial services sector globally. This evolving synergy of financial services and technology, known as fintech, continues to impact a broad spectrum of financial services, including transformation of payment systems, loans and credit options, investment and anti-money laundering compliance, and the growth of crypto currencies, to name a few.
Although relatively new, the benefits of fintech are proven - speed and convenience, simplified payments and settlements, wider choice, more economical costs per transaction and greater personalisation to suit consumers' needs. This disruptive technology is redefining services such as money transfer and the way financial services and products are delivered.
International banking experts have noted that this "financial revolution" is buoyed by blockchain technology, which underpins the development of bitcoin and other crypto currencies via the private sector or central banks. Countries that embrace these projects are regarded as "world leaders" since very few countries have yet joined the bandwagon.
Within the Caribbean, Barbados is a leader with regard to this new technology, having given the green light since 2013, to the first fintech start-up in the region - Bitt.com. Since then, several investors have embraced the vision for Caribbean nations to adopt digital national currencies. Bitt is backed by Overstock.com, which has invested a sizeable amount in the business.
According to Co-founder of Bitt, Gabriel Abed, "Our aim is to use crypt-technology to turn our regional citizens into global citizens, giving them the ability to send or receive money directly via their phones, in seconds, from all corners of the globe." The Bitt team continues to explore the capability of blockchain technology to provide additional business solutions.
Barbados, a vibrant international business and financial services centre, supports and welcomes these types of initiatives by both domestic and international investors. Consequently, within the past two years, an additional five companies, including Nuco Global Inc and Polymath, have set up fintech operations in Barbados, as more organisations embrace blockchain technology.
Following the successful launch of its inaugural conference in 2017, Bitt is committed to building further awareness about this innovative technology by hosting its 2nd annual conference, Central Bank Meets Blockchain from the Ground Up, on 18 September 2018, at the Hilton Barbados Resort. Click here to register and to find out more about this thought leadership conference.
Additionally, financial technology will be explored in detail at the Barbados International Business Week Conference on 25-26 October 2018. Click here for further information about this event.
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