Overstock.com has announced it has invested $4 million USD into Caribbean exchange Bitt. The partnership was revealed in Barbados with various officials from surrounding nations. Bitt aims to bolster the current economic landscape and hopes to “remedy” the financial friction within the region.
Bitt Gets Funding to Pursue Vision
Bitt aims to digitize fiat currency within the Caribbean so islands can trade and each unit will be tracked with blockchain technology. This idea was announced earlier this year alongside the introduction of the Barbadian Digital Dollar and Bitt’s partnership with Netki and Colu. The company looks to address “high frictional fees” from legacy institutions sending money on and offshore. Bitt CEO and Co-Founder, Gabriel Abed said in the announcement:
Regional small businesses find it financially prohibitive to offer online payment options to consumers and this places a drag on entrepreneurism in the Caribbean. Our aim is to use cryptography and digital ledger 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 hosts of the announcement Avatar Capital admired Overstock’s Chief Executive Patrick Byrne’s commitment to technology. Peter George, representing Trinidadian investment firm said, “Patrick Byrne is a deeply principled man who has battled relentlessly to level the playing field, and who has not been afraid to blaze new trails. I could not have envisioned a better fit for Bitt than this.” Byrne believes blockchain technology could revolutionize the islands in that region and says Bitt has great ideas. The Overstock CEO stated:
Bitt has a vision for the Caribbean of frictionless mobile cash, beginning with central banks transparently issuing digital fiat which is then exchanged using a blockchain mechanism with proper regulatory oversight. We respect and endorse that vision, and share a common desire to see online consensual exchange flourish globally. One love.
Bitt intends to broaden its own playing field by using funds to expand beyond Barbados. Oliver Gale, CFO and Co-Founder of the exchange says, “Bitt’s financial technology revolution will bring to consumers a faster, better, cheaper and more traceable way of banking – and we now have a new, multi-billion dollar backed investor to help make this vision a reality,” The company also intends to use the capital towards further developing its software suite which includes an exchange, wallet, and remittance processing.
The team looks to expand its staff in the future and one day try to encompass the entire Caribbean region. Gale explains, “Overstock will add to this growth via shared learning and the mobilisation of its existing tech team.”
Government officials in attendance also gave their blessing to the company’s forward movements. The Barbados Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler said Bitt has the “government’s full support,” and said the event was a “national advancement” for the country. The company claims to be the first Caribbean fintech startup of its kind that has this much approval from international investors.
What do you think about Overstock’s investment in Bitt? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitt, and Overstock.com