KINGSTON, Jamaica — For the first time in Jamaica’s history, digital currency is now available for use in the country as legal tender.
In a short ceremony on Monday morning, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) minted Jamaica’s first batch of central bank digital currency (CBDC).
A total of J$230 million dollars in CBDC will be issued to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers during the CBDC pilot exercise which ends in December.
BOJ’s CBDC team demonstrated the process of minting digital currency during the ceremony, and the very intricate but efficient process took place under the watchful eyes of Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. The Hon. Nigel Clarke, BOJ Governor Richard Byles, members of BOJ’s senior management team, as well as the management team of technology provider, eCurrency Mint Inc.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Clarke acknowledged the rapid progress being made with BOJ’s CBDC project and noted its importance in the creation of a digital economy. He also promised that the legislative amendment to accompany CBDC will be in place before the end of this fiscal year.
BOJ Governor Richard Byles thanked Minister Clarke for his support as he recognized the work of BOJ’s CBDC project team, noting that the next step after this significant milestone is to ensure widespread access and acceptance by taking CBDC to the people.
eCurrency CEO, Jonathan Dharmapalan, had high praise for the project and noted that in terms of how much work had been done in a relatively short time, Jamaica has the fastest-moving CBDC project in the world, in addition to the world’s fastest man and fastest woman.
Deputy Governor Natalie Haynes advised that the judging process for the recent public contest to propose a name, tagline, logo and image design for Jamaica’s CBDC is complete and that the winners will be notified and announced soon.
CBDC is a digital form of central bank-issued currency and therefore is legal tender. It is not to be confused with cryptocurrency, which is privately issued, generally not backed by a central authority and does not perform all the essential functions of money.
As legal tender, CBDC can be exchanged dollar for dollar with physical cash. Households and businesses will be able to use CBDC to make payments and store value, as now obtains with cash. CBDC is backed by the issuing central bank and issued to authorised financial institutions to include deposit taking institutions on a wholesale basis just as now being done with physical currency.
The anticipated benefits of CBDC for Jamaican citizens, businesses and the Government include increased financial inclusion, as it will provide another, easier-to-access means of efficient and secured payments. For deposit-taking institutions and BOJ itself, CBDC presents an opportunity to improve cash management processes and costs.
Contribution: Jamaica Information Service