Central Bank of Jamaica prints new batch of CBDCs worth US$1.5 million

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) on August 10 issued the first batch of its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

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According to

the

official announcement, a total of $230 million (JMD) in digital currency will be issued to deposit-taking institutions and authorised payment service providers in a pilot

that will end in December. At the current exchange rate, this amount is equivalent to $1.49 million.

At a ceremony on August 10, Jamaica’s Finance Minister Nigel Clarke said the BOJ’s CBDC project is progressing rapidly and is a key part of creating a digital economy on the island. Clarke said in March that CBDC is not a cryptocurrency and that Jamaican businesses will be able to make payments using it and store value at no cost.

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Not to be confused with cryptocurrency, which is privately issued and not backed by a regulatory body.

According to the announcement, Clarke also promised that a legislative amendment to accompany CBDC will be introduced before the end of this fiscal year.

Banking for the unbanked

The

BOJ, which has been working to develop the CBDC since early 2020, originally planned to launch the pilot program in May but delayed it for unspecified reasons.

The central bank developed the project in partnership with Irish fintech firm eCurrency Mint. CEO of eCurrency, Jonathan Dharmapalan, highly praised the venture and noted that Jamaica has the fastest growing CBDC project in the world in terms of the amount of work completed.

According to Deputy Governor Natalie Haynes, the judging process for the recent public competition for the name, logo design, tagline and image design for the Jamaica CBDC has been completed and the winners will be notified and announced shortly.

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Thousands of unbanked citizens will benefit from the CBDC and be integrated into the financial system as they will be able to conduct business and transact directly from their mobile phones.

The BOJ said households and businesses will be able to use CBDCs to make payments and store value as they currently do with cash.

Uncle Sam backs down

Many U.S. bank chiefs and senators don’t see the benefit of this, however, as plans to introduce a digital dollar have stalled.

On August 6, BeInCrypto reported

that Federal Reserve Chairman Christopher Waller remains “highly skeptical” that the country needs to develop its own CBDC. According to the banker, “facilitating faster payments is not a compelling reason to create a CBDC,” and only a “fraction of the unbanked” would be interested in it.

Many others with more foresight

bankers and lawmakers disagree, so for now there is only talk and no action.

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