On 28 October 2020, Medici Ventures announced an $8 million equity purchase in Barbados-based FinTech firm Bitt, resulting in Overstock subsidiary Medici gaining a controlling interest. Bitt plans to use the funds to engage in opportunities in the digital currency sector. It’s best known for working with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank on a central bank digital currency project (CBDC).
Bitt leverages blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) for seamless peer-to-peer (P2P) payments through its software and apps. Medici previously invested in Bitt in 2016 through a $4 million equity purchase, followed by another $3 million in 2018. We note the use of the term “equity purchase” and have asked whether the purpose is to distinguish it from a token investment.
“This equity purchase will allow Bitt to continue to innovate and expand in the digital currency space, as global adoption of central bank digital currencies continues to garner global interest,” said Bitt CEO Brian Popelka.
Overstock CEO and Medici President Jonathon Johnson commented that Bitt’s vision “aligns with Medici Ventures’ mission of democratizing capital, eliminating middlemen, and re-humanizing commerce.” He continues, “Bitt’s pioneering work in the central bank digital currency space promotes social inclusion, financial empowerment, and economic growth.”
Founded in 2013, Bitt’s corporate mission is to support the Caribbean’s digital financial ecosystem by providing the necessary infrastructure and enabling financial access for citizens, merchants, banking institutions, and central banks.
In 2019, Bitt partnered with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to pilot a CBDC. The CBDC is to be distributed and used by the financial institutions of members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), including six independent states and two U.K. territories.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the Central Bank of the Bahamas launched the Sand Dollar CBDC in October. A strong factor in the CBDC launch is the promotion of financial inclusion, increasing the domestic payments system’s efficiency, and the reduction of cash usage costs.