Jamaica is the first country in the world to issue a CBDC legal tender.
The “Jam-Dex” central bank digital currency (CBDC) has been recognized as legal tender by Jamaica’s central bank, making it the first country to do so.
The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) has legalized its CBDC as an alternative to the country’s cash economy. The Jamaican Senate, according to sources, has approved the central bank to issue its CBDC, known as the Jamaica Digital Exchange, or Jam-Dex.
According to Bank of Jamaica Governor Richard Byles, the Jam-Dex will be available for domestic usage later this month. Byles told Blockworks that the digital Jamaican dollar,
“provides a more secure, convenient alternative to traditional notes and coins, and can be utilized without a bank account.”
Since August of last year, the Jam-Dex has been in a pilot testing phase. Earlier this year, BeInCrypto predicted that it would be released in Q1, however, delays moved it into Q2.
New payments methods
Jonathan Dharmapalan, CEO of CBDC technology vendor eCurrency, confirmed the action:
“Legislators in Jamaica have all now unanimously moved a digital dollar forward in Jamaica. You can use this to settle any debt in Jamaica. It is the medium of exchange.”
He went on to say that it was critical for countries to recognize that their money could be in digital form, before adding,
“Because it’s digital, you don’t have to be in the same place at the same time to execute a transaction…It’s a really, really powerful tool.”
According to the Jamaica Observer, the JMMB Group, a financial services firm, plans to develop a number of new products, including point-of-sale, e-commerce, and new payment solutions, to help the Jam-Dex gain traction.
According to the publication, the CBDC is also being promoted by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) through its Lynk wallet.
CBDC is a global movement.
According to the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker, there are currently 105 countries exploring or developing CBDCs, representing over 95% of world GDP. It also claims that ten countries, including Nigeria, the Bahamas with its “Sand Dollar,” and other Caribbean island governments, have introduced CBDCs; nonetheless, Jamaica is the first to legalize them as legal money.
China’s digital yuan, also known as e-CNY or DCEP (digital currency/ electronic payment) experiments will run until 2023. In April, the pilot program was expanded to include Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen and six cities in Zhejiang province.
In this race, the United States is lagging behind, with policymakers and central bankers delaying the formation of a digital asset greenback. Some feel that a central bank digital dollar would give the Federal Reserve greater authority and monitoring over people’s finances.
Digital assets and currencies are here to stay. Rather than fighting it, embrace this historic shift.
As written by Niranjan Duguta and edited by Ini Abasi Ekanem
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