Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler (right), shares the head table with Overstock.com CEO, Dr. Patrick Byrne (second from right); Bitt Co-founder and CEO, Gabriel Abed (second from left), and Bitt Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer, Oliver Gale, during the press conference held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.
The audience gathered at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel for Bitt’s investment announcement.
Sat, 04/02/2016 - 12:57am Barbados1
Bitt gets backing from US retail giant Overstock Inc.
Bitt, the Barbados-based financial technology company aiming to revolutionise the Caribbean’s financial ecosystem, has closed a multimillion-dollar investment deal with US retail giant, Overstock Inc.
Bitt, headed by Gabriel Abed and Oliver Gale, is a financial technology company utilising cutting-edge technologies to bring the field of digital currencies to the Caribbean. Bitt is an innovative alternative to the traditional banking system, as Bitt’s services allow all financial transactions to become digital and mobile.
The investment was announced at a media conference held yesterday at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, in Hastings, Christ Church. Principals from both Bitt.com and Overstock.com. were in attendance.
Also in attendance was Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, who openly threw his backing behind the new partnership, giving his Ministry as well as the Government’s “full support” to the innovative exercise, which he said will advance Barbados on a global level.
Bitt Co-founder and CEO, Gabriel Abed, noted that Bitt.com intends to use the proceeds from the investment, which amounts to US$16 million, to further its goal of building a financial ecosystem in the Caribbean that remedies the issues which people in the region experience daily, including high frictional fees from banks and money services operations that make sending money in and out of the region cumbersome and costly.
“Regional small businesses find it financially prohibitive to offer online payment options to consumers and this places a drag on entrepreneurism in the Caribbean,” Abed suggested.
“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,” he explained.
In February of 2016, Bitt launched a digitised Barbadian Dollar on the bitcoin blockchain. The company also intends to digitise all of the fiat currencies found in the Caribbean and place them on the blockchain, so they can be easily traded between the islands.
Bitt Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer, Oliver Gale, has meanwhile noted that Bitt’s financial technology revolution will bring to consumers a faster, better, cheaper and more traceable way of banking.
“We now have a new multibillion-dollar-backed investor to help make this vision a reality,” he said.
Overstock.com CEO, Dr. Patrick Byrne, has noted that Barbados is ahead of the Netherlands, now looking to bring such an innovative exercise on stream. He revealed that his decision to invest in the local company was fuelled by his positive interactions with Principal Bitt investor Peter George, representing the Trinidadian investment firm, Avatar Capital; officials from Invest Barbados; the US Embassy in Barbados; and the Minister of Finance. As such, he is looking forward to a long-standing relationship with the island. (RSM)