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19 March, 2021

The new digital currency of the Caribbean: how to use DCash and what you can pay for

The Caribbean is launching its own digital currency, DCash, an electronic version of the Caribbean dollar. We tell you what we know about the new currency, who can use it, and which countries in the region accept DCash payments and transfers.

Caribbean citizenship by investment: the digital currency DCash
Photo: Adobe Stock

DCash is a digital analogue of the national currency, not a type of cryptocurrency. It cannot be mined independently like bitcoin. DCash is obtained or exchanged from banks, credit institutions and licensed financial agents who have an agreement with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. It is also allowed to transfer savings from a bank account into digital currency.

Development of DCash began in the fall of 2020. And the first test transaction took place on February 12, 2021: the user paid with the digital currency for purchase at a Grenada grocery store. A week later, the manager of a Grenadian bank made the first transfer to DCash.

On March 9, 2021, St. Lucia joined the experiment: Citi's Foods sold its first burger for DCash.

Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia will begin accepting digital currency payments and transfers on March 31, 2021. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is responsible for the launch.

First purchase with DCash digital currency at a Grenada grocery store
Source: @dcashec

First DCash transaction at a bank in Grenada
Source: @dcashec

How DCash works: who and how can use the new digital currency

Those who wish to do so install the official mobile currency app to pay with DCash. The app is free and available for download on Google Play and the App Store.

Even those without a Caribbean bank account are allowed to use digital currency. Users can even transfer money and pay for purchases from abroad. But Caribbean citizens and residents have more options. They pay DCash not only for purchases on the islands, but also for utility bills, taxes, and retirement contributions.

DCash payments are made in real-time; all you need is internet access. There are no fees for DCash transactions. To pay with digital currency, users scan a QR code, enter a confirmation code from an SMS-message or follow a link from a mobile app.

Money transfers only work between businesses and financial institutions that are connected to the DCash system.

Local businesses are free to join the experiment at any time. ABI Insuranse and Cutie's Restaurant of Antigua and Barbuda, EcoCarib Energy Company of St. Lucia and Amory Bakery of St. Kitts and Nevis will accept DCash in March 2021.

Basic rules for using DCash will appear when testing is complete. More information about digital currency is on the bank's website.

DCash to pay for the citizenship program investment

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank plans to expand DCash payment options when testing ends. For example, investors may be allowed to transfer investments in citizenship programs in the form of digital currency. But the bank has not yet disclosed plans to develop the service.

Five Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment. Investors typically make a bank transfer to the program's department account. But there are exceptions.

St. Lucia accepts program payments online. Through a secure platform is allowed to pay the contribution to the state fund, administrative fees, security clearance. We talked about this in the article "Paying expenses in 2 minutes instead of 2 weeks".

Antigua and Barbuda plan to add cryptocurrency settlement, but for now, it must be converted into dollars. Right now, cryptocurrency is only allowed as proof that the investor has enough money to invest.

Caribbean countries offer several investment options under citizenship programs. About 50% of investors choose a non-refundable contribution as the least expensive option. Buying real estate will cost more. But after 5-7 years, the share or object can be sold with a profit of 2 to 5%.

CountryInvestmentsInvestment option
DominicaFrom 100 000 $Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
St LuciaFrom 100 000 $Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
Buying government bonds
Investing in a local business
Antigua and BarbudaFrom 100 000 $Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
Starting a business
St Kitts and NevisFrom 150 000 $Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate
GrenadaFrom 150 000 $Non-refundable fee
Purchase of real estate

The main advantage of the Caribbean passport is visa-free travel to more than 140 countries, including Schengen, Great Britain and Hong Kong.

Investors are entitled to stay in the European Union for 90 days per half-year and in Great Britain for 180 days. And Grenadian citizens are free to come to China for 30 days a year.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for Caribbean citizenship programs. If you want to obtain a Caribbean passport and travel freely around the world, seek advice from our investment program experts.

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The new digital currency of the Caribbean: how to use DCash and what you can pay for