Jamaica is aggressively progressing with the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) as the Bank of Jamaica, or BOJ, has minted the country’s first batch of CBDC.
The BOJ officially announced that its dedicated CBDC division demonstrated the process of minting digital currency at a financial ceremony on Monday.
The issuing process for a digital version of the Jamaican dollar (JMD) was carried out with participation from Jamaica’s finance minister Nigel Clarke, BOJ governor Richard Byles and a group of senior BOJ executives, as well as a management team from Irish technology firm eCurrency Mint.
According to the announcement, the BOJ is planning to issue a total of 230 million JMD ($1.47 million) in the form of a CBDC to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers as part of a digital currency pilot ending this December.
Minister Clarke noted that the Jamaican government has seen rapid progress in the development of the country’s digital currency project, highlighting its crucial role in the creation of a digital economy in the island country. The official also said that local lawmakers are working on a legislative amendment to provide a legal basis for the Jamaican CBDC by the end of 2021.
According to BOJ governor Byles, Jamaica’s next CBDC adoption step would be to ensure widespread access and acceptance by bringing the CBDC to users.
The announcement notes that the Jamaican CBDC aims to enable a number of benefits to users, including “easier-to-access means of efficient and secured payments.” “For deposit-taking institutions and the BOJ itself, CBDC presents an opportunity to improve cash management processes and costs,” the central bank added.
The latest development comes in line with the BOJ’s CBDC plans as governor Byles announced that the initial roll-out of the Jamaican CBDC was scheduled for August. Controlled and issued by the BOJ, the country’s CBDC is designed to complement Jamaica’s banknotes, allowing financial institutions to issue the currency to individual and business account holders with each digital token pegged to the JMD on a 1:1 ratio.
The news comes amid an increasing number of countries aggressively piloting national CBDC initiatives, with Venezuela planning to launch a CBDC in October. According to a Friday analysis by JPMorgan strategist Josh Younger, retail CBDCs could risk “disintermediating commercial banks” and lead to a 20% or 30% loss of their funding base.
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