The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released a report that details the potential benefits and complications of digital currencies in the Caribbean.
The report, Opportunities and risks associated with the advent of digital currency in the Caribbean, was authored by Shiva Bissessar, a consultant with the Caribbean Knowledge Management Center (CKMC).
According to the report, there is growing awareness of digital currencies among the general public and that the industry – which is still in its nascent stages – needs a proper regulatory framework that will bring the technology into the mainstream.
“The industry’s need a supportive regulatory environment is one of these challenges, but perhaps an even larger one is the need to win over the public and convince consumers of the value that digital currencies may offer”
Shiva Bissessar also pointed out in his report how lethargic Barbados regulators are on informing themselves on the potential benefits digital currency technology can bring to the region. He writes:
“Regulators are very slow to respond and educate themselves on digital currency technology. Whilst other small economies around the world respond proactively to this emerging technology (See Isle of Man) to establish themselves as a forerunners in a new age of finance we have found Caribbean government bodies resistance to change.”
Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname are also exemplified as attractive locales for digital currency miners due to the relatively low electricity costs. In fact, the two nations have the lowest cost per kilowatt in the Caribbean.
“Both Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname are easily distinguishable as having a significant competitive advantage over the rest of the field in terms of electricity costs.”
The report concludes that Caribbean financial institutions and government bodies need to take a closer look at the potential benefits of the technology, so that Caribbean citizens are not left out of the FinTech revolution.
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