Bank of Jamaica To Rollout Digital Currency (JAM-DEX) by June End

Key Takeaways

  • The Bank of Jamaica Governor Richard Byles said that the bank is at a point where they are ready to “proceed with JAM-DEX’.
  • Jam-Dex has been in a pilot testing phase since August 2021 and was made legal tender in earlier this month.

The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) grabbed headlines when it became the first nation to legalize central bank digital currency JAM-DEX just a few days back. Now BOJ is looking to commence the national rollout of JAM-DEX by June end.

While speaking at a ‘Riverside Chat’ panel discussion on digital and cryptocurrency during the 2022 Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference on Wednesday, The Bank of Jamaica Governor Richard Byles said that the institution is at a point where they are ready to “proceed.”

Mario Griffiths, BOJ Director for Payment Systems and Policy, also stated that the Central Bank is proceeding with the sole qualified financial institution onboarded to issue digital wallets, which are required to access CBDC – National Commercial Bank (NCB). Mario further added that it is envisioned that JAM-DEX will be utilized mainly on a person-to-person level as well as with micro and small merchants.

The Governor states that the targeted merchants still have some work to do to facilitate CBDC transactions, mainly related to the reprogramming and upgrading of point-of-sale machines. Mr. Byles, as well as Mr. Griffiths, described the last two years during which the BOJ undertook preparations for the CBDC’s development and implementation as a “great learning experience”.Jam-Dex has been in a pilot testing phase since August 2021 

The House of Representatives and Senate recently ratified the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act, 2022, making CBDC legal tender locally and enshrining the BOJ as the sole issuer. BoJ was behind the success of the CBDC pilot between May and December 2021. According to the bank, Jam-Dex or the Jamaica Digital Exchange delivers an alternative to its cash-based economy. The Bank of Jamaica encourages the public to sign up for a digital wallet to access JAM-DEX, which they claim to be “safe, convenient, and secure.”

The CBDC frenzy is taking over the world by storm. In 2020, the Bahamas was the first nation to adopt a nationwide CBDC, known as the “sand dollar.” China’s digital yuan, e-CNY, or DCEP (digital currency/electronic payment) pilots are set to continue into 2023. The Atlantic Council’s Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker notes that dozens of other countries across the globe are now in various phases of exploring the idea. Recently US President Biden issued an executive order directing resources towards researching the pros and cons of a US-issued CBDC.

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Saniya Raahath

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