JAMAICA'S digital currency, JAM-DEX was launched on July 11 through the Lynk app, a digital wallet and currently the only transaction platform for Jamaicans to use the central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Word of the launch was not released until Monday, two weeks after. It came after several delays.
As part of the launch the first 100,000 customers that signed up for JAM-DEX via the Lynk app were given an incentive bonus of $2,500 JAM-DEX in their wallets by the Government.
To date, over 120,000 users have signed up on the platform and can now transact using Lynk e-money and now JAM-DEX to pay for goods and services with over 2300 merchants on the Lynk platform. In partnership with BOJ, the Lynk team will embark on an islandwide public education programme about the benefits of digital payment platforms and currencies for everyday Jamaicans and business owners, showing Jamaicans how to access, convert and spend their JAM-DEX locally.
JAM-DEX, the digital version of the country's currency, is legal tender, issued by BOJ on a one-to-one basis with banknotes and coins. JAM-DEX is stored in a digital wallet, which is an app on a mobile device such as your phone that makes it easy for users to send, receive and spend their money. Lynk, Jamaica's latest digital wallet, only requires users to upload one Government-issued photo ID (driver's licence, voter's ID or passport) and a copy of their Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) in order to create a wallet. For added security, the app also collects biometric data to prevent unauthorised access to your money.
Vernon James, Lynk CEO, shared, "The combination of Lynk...and JAM-DEX...offers a solution to three public policy objectives in the financial system — inclusion, security and convenience. As technology rapidly evolves, day-to-day and business payment transaction behaviours are also changing. Adapting to cashless environments is quickly becoming a non-negotiable for personal and business transactions the world over, but especially in Jamaica. There is a greater need to explore innovative technologies to respond to these changes and ensure equitable access. At Lynk we are committed to ensuring Jamaicans are not left behind in the global digital financial transformation. Facilitating access to multiple currencies is another step towards further advancing our local fintech space and helping more people join the formal financial system by removing barriers that would prevent them from otherwise participating.
"The Bank of Jamaica is excited about the launch of JAM-DEX and the impact that it will have on Jamaicans as we progress to a digital economy. JAM-DEX facilitates greater financial inclusion, which will improve the lives of so many Jamaicans who are currently excluded from the financial system. It also provides a safe, convenient and secure means of making payments and transfers.
"We are pleased to be working with Lynk, the first digital wallet to offer JAM-DEX. The ease of accessing the Lynk digital wallet allows for equitable access to JAM-DEX for all," asserted Natalie Haynes, BOJ deputy governor with responsibility for banking and currency operations and financial markets infrastructure divisions.
As a part of their education programme, over the next few weeks Lynk will be hosting a series of information sessions and sharing content across various platforms geared towards two groups — customers and merchants. Through the brand's email, social media and internal networks, content will be focused on educating the public about how and why JAM-DEX will be beneficial in the national effort to make digital payments available to all Jamaicans. Since JAM-DEX became available for usage in the Lynk app, the Lynk team has participated in three merchant webinars to familiarise merchants with the benefits of accepting JAM-DEX, and hosted a Twitter Spaces event with three of their merchants as speakers and a listenership of over 5000. Lynk will continue to participate in these types of forums and directly with customers as they continue their 'Mek di Lynk' islandwide education tour.