Q&A with Simon Chantry, a co-founder of Bitt Inc. following his attendance and participation at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Blockchain Policy Forum, as held on September 5-6, 2018 in Paris, France .
The OECD Blockchain Policy Forum was the first major international conference to take stock of blockchain’s impacts across the full range of government activities and public priorities. The forum addressed the benefits and risks of blockchain for our economies and societies, took steps to identify good policy and regulatory approaches, and investigated uses in specific policy areas.
How does blockchain policy creation impact us in the Caribbean?
The ultimate reward is providing financially inclusive mobile solutions to the Caribbean region within an agreed framework. Bitt’s objectives in relation to this have not changed since its inception. We remain committed to providing blockchain driven payment solutions, especially to the benefit of unbanked and underbanked populations of the region. Financial inclusion for all is at the foundation of our development efforts.
We have long called for relevant global, regional and local policies. I’d, therefore, like to see how Barbados, as a country, can leverage the policy recommendations made by the OECD to the G20 Nations. Tech moves fast, globally, our regulators need to keep up – and Bitt is positioned to assist at all levels.
How important is it for Bitt to have a voice at such a forum?
It is very important for Bitt to have a voice in this OECD Forum, considering the opportunity it presents to influence global policy and the amount of time we have spent interacting with Central and Commercial Banks in the Caribbean, and worldwide, regarding the risks and opportunities that come with various Blockchain technology applications and networks, especially at the payments and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) level. At this time we are doing work beyond Barbados, including pilots in the Eastern Caribbean as well as Curacao and Sint Maarten (both currency unions). It’s therefore important for us to be privy to policy recommendations that the OECD will eventually make and to remain up-to-speed with international efforts aimed at digital currency adoption by central banks. In adding our voice to such forums, we would always want to ensure that sensible and comprehensive policies are being contemplated.
As a participant and a panelist, what were your key take-aways?
At such an all-encompassing forum, there are talks surrounding the application of blockchain technology to impact and bring efficiencies to just about every industry. Getting a better appreciation of not just the solutions but the regulations in place or that which still needs to be crafted, is helpful. Globally, regulators are struggling to keep pace with technology and the need to put frameworks in place to facilitate and govern the inevitable. Communication is key – and having international participants with diverse backgrounds and affiliations is always helpful.
What was the gist of your own contribution as a discussant?
Through my panel and an interview, I was able to reflect on the evolution of blockchain. To our credit, Bitt envisioned the integration of this technology since 2013. We recognized the ability to harness blockchain’s capacity to support central bank issued digital currencies as the wave of what was then referred to as ‘Blockchain 2.0’ protocols and overlays came to be – and correctly identified how crucial it would be now and in the future in the interest of true financial inclusion and the ease of doing business. To share stories and discuss progress with others who have been invested in the development of this industry over the years, was special. We’ve all had our challenges during the course of this evolution; we are well poised to collectively determine next steps.
About the OECD : http://www.oecd.org/about/
About the Forum: http://www.oecd.org/finance/oecd-blockchain-policy-forum-2018.htm
About Bitt Inc : www.bitt.com