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Report of ECLAC's Second Expert Group Meeting on Digital Currency in the Caribbean

Published date 2015-04-23
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This expert group meeting continued the work of the first such meeting held to review a study on the “Opportunities and risks associated with the advent of digital currency in the Caribbean.” Experts in the group recommended the following points as meriting special consideration for further discussion in the study’s final draft:

(a) There has been reluctance on the part of regulators in Caribbean countries to engage on this issue, and to engage with digital currency companies interested in doing business in the region. Should this lack of engagement continue, digital currency companies would likely begin offering services in the region without first obtaining regulatory approval. This represents a risk to the companies, regulatory regimes, and public interest.

(b) Many tools are already in place that could aid governments and central banks in providing appropriate national frameworks for regulatory supervision of the digital currency industry. Tools also exist that can aid law enforcement in tracing the usage of digital currency as part of criminal investigations. There needs to be a broader awareness of how these tools may be used, with technical and legal assistance made available from the international community to countries seeking to use them.

(c) There remains a significant level of distrust in the region concerning digital currency, on the part of both governments and the population. This reservation exists, in part, because of a number of well-known cases involving the use of Bitcoin for criminal purposes. At times this negative view has overshadowed consideration of the potential benefits of the technology. The digital currency industry will need to build confidence within the member States by supporting regulators and law enforcement, and by educating policymakers and the public on the value of adopting digital currency-based systems.