The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) minted the first installment of what’s expected to be 230 million JMD (nearly $1.5 million) in central bank digital currency (CBDC) on Tuesday (August 10).
The full amount will be issued to “deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers” during the pilot program, which is expected to end in December.
At the ceremony, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke, said the BOJ’s CBDC project is moving along quickly and is a key part of the creation of a digital economy in Jamaica. He vowed that a legislative amendment to regulate CBDC will be in place before the fiscal year ends.
The judging process for the recent public contest to propose a name, logo design, tagline and image design for Jamaica’s CBDC is complete — the winners will be notified and announced soon, said Deputy Governor Natalie Haynes.
Clarke said earlier this year that Jamaica’s CBDC is not a cryptocurrency. Jamaican businesses will be able to make CBDC payments and store value at no cost.
Thousands of unbanked and underbanked people will also benefit from the CBDC and will be brought into the financial system as customers can conduct business directly from their mobile phones.
Jamaican officials see CBDC as a way to include more people in the economy and an opportunity for deposit-taking institutions and the BOJ to improve their cash management processes.
Last year, the Central Bank of Jamaica said it would work more intimately with the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMIs) to regulate financial companies. That means closer scrutiny of different transaction types, central counter parties and trade repositories, securities settlement systems and central securities depositories.