Above: Gabriel Abed
BitDepth#1202 for June 20, 2019
On his LinkedIn page, Caribbean cryptocurrency activist and cofounder of Barbados based digital currency business Bitt Gabriel Abed posted a note following the announcement that Bitt would be shuttering its Bitcoin exchange and wallet services effective August 29, 2019 at 4pm.
Bitt.com recently announced it will be shutting down it’s #Bitcoin Exchange services, and the company will focus on Central Bank Digital Currency services,” Abed wrote.
“I am working to launch a new Bitcoin exchange and mobile wallet as an independent product for the Caribbean region, but it will not be part of the Bitt suite and it will be fully focused on digital assets.”
I communicated with Gabriel Abed via an extended WhatsApp chat, and he responded to questions arising from the Bitt decision and his new dual roles in cryptocurrency advocacy.
“Bitt is fully focused on its objectives to building a new monetary system for Central Banks and monetary authorities globally,” Abed wrote in response to a question about his position on the closure.
“Blockchain technology remains at the heart of that and remains the solution required to deliver the results. Bitcoin trading services are an entirely different business model and takes away focus for both the team and the objective, and therefore a decision was made by the board to drill into our core and priority offering.”
Abed is listed as founder, director and vice-chairman of Bitt, and the company continues to offer a Barbados-only product called mMoney, which manages a Digital Barbados Dollar as a valid currency for trade within the island.
Abed’s new Bitcoin exchange Caribcoin.com is just a webpage now, but he’s hoping to make the project active before the closure of the Bitt exchange, but realistically hopes for the fourth quarter of 2019.
The CaribCoin project reflects Abed’s continued bullish outlook on the future of Bitcoin, which he started Bitt to champion.
“Bitt only traded in Bitcoin which is a global asset with corridors around the world,” he wrote.
“There are avenues to cash out globally and the ability to trade over the counter. There is more demand to buy Bitcoin in Barbados than there is to sell as the asset has global utility and more usefulness online than Barbadian dollars.”
“I do not imagine anyone would have a problem cashing out and if they do, I will happily buy all of their Bitcoin for Barbadian dollars.”
Abed also advised owners of Bitcoin in the Bitt exchange, estimated at 2,000, that their holdings are readily transferred and that they can hold the value in their own wallets.
“This is the most useful form of digital currency in the world.”
Will this set Gabriel Abed at odds with Bitt? It seems difficult to reconcile the two positions with nervous Caribbean bankers now looking to Bitt as a trusted partner. At least one local bank in TT has advised its customers that it will not permit its credit cards to be used to buy cryptocurrency.
With the Barbados cryptocurrency and blockchain company now working to refocus its efforts on partnerships with Caribbean central banks and the closure of the exchange and wallet system a clear indicator of Bitt’s willingness to compromise, Abed’s activism for Bitcoin seems a poor fit with the company.
“Bitt is a corporation with other shareholders, executives, and an agenda that all agree on our focus being CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency),” he responded.
“While I am a founder of the organization, a large shareholder of the business and the VP to the board of directors, it is still an independent corporation.”
“My views and movements are my own and should not be confused by the decisions and moves of Bitt.
“Bitt.com is led by Senator Rawdon Adams who has been doing an exemplary job at delivering a paradigm shift towards a new monetary future.”
“I fully support the efforts of Bitt.com but also independently fully support the advent of distributed ledger technology and will continue to speak independently and separately from the company [on that subject].”
Abed is determined to ensure that his dream of active cryptocurrency exchange for the Caribbean continues.
“I am still a massive believer in the value of cryptocurrencies, math-based protocols and Bitcoin,” he wrote.
“Not a single thing has changed with the moves Bitt is making. I will always be a champion for Bitcoin and there is very little that can change that.”
“I believe every single person across the Caribbean at one point or another will require access to a cryptocurrency exchange.”
“The services offered by such an exchange can solve a lot of problems ranging from remittance to global financial access to receiving payments.”
“The banks will continue to follow their risk mitigation policies, and unfortunately Bitcoin isn’t seen as a risk free approach yet.”