Salt Lake City-based Medici Ventures has effectively gained a controlling interest in Barbados-based fintech Bitt after purchasing additional equity for the sum of US$8 million.
“The additional equity will enable Bitt to pursue market opportunities that accelerate the option of digital currencies in developing countries,” a release from the Bajan outfit outlined.
With the aim of stimulating economic growth in the Caribbean and creating financial inclusion for its people, Bitt, founded in 2013, provides the infrastructure that supports digital financial ecosystems throughout the region.
By using blockchain and distributed ledger technology, Bitt’s financial software and mobile application platform allows mobile money users to execute peer-to-peer transactions.
“The additional equity will enable Bitt to pursue market opportunities that accelerate the option of digital currencies in developing countries”
Just last year, in March, the Barbados-based company signed a contract with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to pilot a securely minted and digitally issued version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar. Upon completion of the project, the regional monetary authority will distribute the digital currency, DCash, through financial institutions for peer-to-peer transactions between merchants and consumers using smartphone applications.
“We are strong believers in what Bitt is doing and remain committed to supporting its forward-thinking vision, which aligns with Medici Ventures’ mission of democratising capital, eliminating middlemen, and rehumanising commerce,” Medici Ventures President Jonathan Johnson stated.
He added: “Bitt’s pioneering work in the central bank digital currency space promotes social inclusion, financial empowerment, and economic growth. It is is the perfect case for blockchain technology to fundamentally change the way in we transact and…how societies function.”
Initially Medici Ventures — a whole owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc — purchased US$4 million in equity in Bitt in 2016, and afterward invested an additional US$3 million in 2018.
Though Medici Ventures has a controlling stake, Bitt will continue operate from its Barbados base with President Brian Popelka assuming a new role, that of chief executive officer. In the meantime, Medici will continue to support Bitt’s thrust to promote the adoption of central bank digital currencies.
“Medici Ventures has been an ideal partner for Bitt, providing us with strong support and consistently believing in the mission of the company. This equity purchase will allow Bitt to continue to innovate and expand in the digital currency space, as the adoption of central bank digital currencies garner global interest,” Popelka noted.
“Our goal is to empower those who have been disenfranchised by the financial system by providing improved payment options, which is especially important as we navigate through a global pandemic the new CEO continued.