Central bank digital currency (CBDC) evolved into a hot topic in Jamaica when the country’s central bank successfully completed the first pilot test in early January.
Following the tests, the country's prime minister, Andrew Holness, spoke confidently about CBDC adoption in the country.
Holness has predicted the majority of the Jamaican population would be quick to adopt the digital currency, with over 70% using the CBDC within five years. The Jamaican prime minister highlighted reduced banking costs and inclusivity of CBDC in a Bloomberg interview, adding that digital currency would ensure greater government accountability thanks to easier public resources tracking.
While admitting the initial challenges of a nationwide CBDC launch, which is aimed for the first quarter of 2022, Holness added that the government has to “figure out how to give people access to digital devices and the internet in general.”
The Bank of Jamaica, the country’s central bank, has become a pioneer in CBDC efforts with one of the first completed nationwide pilot projects in the world. After partnering with the Irish cryptography firm eCurrency Mint in March 2021, the central bank has conducted an eight-month-long pilot.
As Cointelegraph reported, the bank has minted 230 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) ($1.5 million) worth of the CBDC for issuance to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers. BoJ then issued 1 million JMD ($6,500) in CBDC to the staff at BoJ’s banking department and another 5 million JMD ($32,000) to the National Commercial Bank, a major financial institution in the country.
BoJ aims to add two new wallet providers for its CBDC, followed by a nationwide rollout in the first quarter of this year. The central bank also plans to focus on interoperability by testing transactions between customers of different wallet providers.