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Digital money ‘no problem’

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Digital money ‘no problem’

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BARBADIANS MIGHT BE willing to use digital currencies once they can overcome their “limited knowledge” about this form of payment.

Cash payments, and in more recent times card transactions at point-of-sale, have been the norm, but new research has concluded that using digital currencies like bitcoin is not far-fetched.

The topic Exploring The Use Of Digital Currencies As A Form Of Payment In Barbados was explored by economist Anthony Wood and bank examiner Runako Brathwaite.

“The findings revealed that most respondents became aware of the concept of digital currency in 2014, with only a few persons recognising digital currencies other than bitcoin,” they said.

“Generally there was limited knowledge among Barbadians about digital currencies and although most had heard of it, few had more than a beginner’s level of knowledge on the subject. Despite this finding, many expressed a willingness to use it if certain conditions could be met.”

They collected data on the topic using a structured questionnaire that was sent to 50 participants between July and September last year.

The questionnaire covered participants’ awareness and perception of digital currency, as well as the frequency with which they used services including money transfer/remittance and online shopping that would derive significant benefits from its introduction.

Wood and Brathwaite noted that “what has been accepted as payment has changed over time, and so have the ways in which payments are made”.

“Coins made of precious metals were one of the first methods used for making payments in a number of economies. This eventually evolved to the use of receipts for gold housed with goldsmiths, which then developed into banknotes whose value depends not on gold but on the economic and financial position of the country,” they said.

“Next in the evolution of payment methods is digital currency, which is considered by many to have the potential to disrupt and transform the existing global financial infrastructure”. (SC)