Prime Minister Andrew Holness predicts widespread take-up of the Bank of Jamaica's (BOJ's) central bank digital currency (CBDC), which is expected to be rolled out by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
He predicted that most of Jamaican population would quickly adopt the digital currency, with over 70 per cent using the CBDC in five years.
Following the successful tests, Prime Minister Holness has been speaking confidently about CBDC adoption in the country. During a Bloomberg interview last week Holness pointed to several benefits of the CBDC, noting that the digital currency would ensure greater government accountability thanks to easier public resources tracking.
While admitting the initial challenges of a nationwide CBDC launch, the prime minister mentioned that his Government has to “figure out how to give people access to digital devices, and the Internet in general”.
After partnering with the Irish cryptography firm eCurrency Mint in March 2021, the BOJ conducted an eight-month-long pilot of the CBDC, becoming a pioneer in CBDC efforts with one of the first completed nationwide pilot projects in the world.
The BOJ has minted $230 million worth of the CBDC for issuance to deposit-taking institutions and authorised payment service providers. The BOJ, Jamaica's central bank, then issued $1 million in CBDC to staff and another $5 million to National Commercial Bank, a major financial institution.
The BOJ aims to add two new wallet providers for its CBDC, followed by a nationwide roll-out in the first quarter of this year. The Jamaican central bank also plans to focus on interoperability by testing transactions between customers of different wallet providers.