Jamaica’s Central Bank Announces Planned Roll-Out of Digital Currency

Beaconing a New Dawn

Jamaica is getting set to launch its digital currency for use across possibly before the second quarter of this year. The Bank of Jamaica said the digital currency effort is part of its solutions to tackle the high cost of transactions and to make financial services available to the country’s citizens who are unbanked.

The apex bank had announced in December 2021 that it had concluded a pilot program that paid out about 230 million Jamaica dollars (equivalent to 1.5 million US dollars) of the digital currency. This came after similar programs were carried out by a set of Eastern Caribbean countries.

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A Deputy Governor with the Bank of Jamaica for banking and currency operations and market infrastructure, Natalie Haynes, told news reporters that a lot of Jamaicans are not financial inclusive so the bank made a decision that a central bank-led digital currency would be the perfect opportunity to have that category of people come into the official banking system.

Haynes mentioned further that part of the bank’s plans for the digital currency is hoping to have up to 5% of the Jamaican dollar in it.

Up to five million Jamaican dollars (approximately thirty-eight thousand US dollars) was given to the National Commercial Bank, which is a privately-owned bank, while one million Jamaican dollars (approximately six thousand US dollars) was paid to the Bank of Jamaica employees.

The Bank of Jamaica has said that the National Commercial Bank has registered up to fifty-seven of the bank’s customers to begin using the digital currency as soon as it is rolled out for the general public to use.

More Benefits

The Chief Product Officer for The Future of Business (TFOB), a digital banking subsidiary of the National Commercial Bank, has said that digital currency is a different way to make payments and aids smooth peer-to-peer businesses.

The system lets customers sign up for a digital wallet where they deposit money and get digital currency in turn, which can then be used to carry out transactions.

The digital currency plan of Jamaica is on the same path as that set and followed by a number of Eastern Caribbean countries launched in 2021, which is named DCash.

Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent, Saint Kitts Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda all currently use DCash as a legal tender. The Bahamas was the first country in the Caribbean islands to launch a digital currency in 2020.    

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