The Bank of Jamaica minted the island nation’s first batch of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) on Monday.
- A total of J$230 million, or roughly US$1.5 million, will be issued to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers as part of the CBDC pilot program that ends in December.
- In a ceremony, Jamaica Minister of Finance Dr. Nigel Clarke promised that a legislative amendment to accompany the country’s CBDC would be in place by the end of the fiscal year.
- The bank had originally planned to begin its pilot program in May but was delayed for unspecified reasons. Jamaica has been working on developing a CBDC since early 2020.
- The central bank has been working with Ireland-based technology firm eCurrency Mint on the project.
- As reported by CoinDesk, the Jamaican government views the accelerated transition to a digital society and economy as vital to an economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The government said anticipated benefits of the CBDC include increased financial inclusion since it will provide another, easier-to-access means to make payments, and for deposit-taking institutions, the opportunity to improve cash management processes and costs.