Jamaica’s Finance Minister Nigel Clarke announced that the country plans to launch its central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2022.
During his speech at the National Budget Debate, Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance of Jamaica, revealed that the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC) will be tested in December, before its official launch in 2022.
The government of Jamaica revealed that, due to Covid-19, a rapid transition to a digital society will be crucial for the recovery of the economy.
Clarke added that a CBDC will greatly improve financial inclusion and provide financial services to the country’s unbanked population. He specified that a virtual central bank currency is different from ordinary cryptocurrencies:
“It should not be confused with cryptocurrency, which is issued privately and is not backed by a regulatory authority.”
The CBDC issued by Jamaica’s central bank will become interchangeable with the Jamaican dollar on a one-to-one basis, thus adopting more similar characteristics with a stablecoin.
Since the beginning of 2020, Jamaica has been working on developing its own central bank digital currency. In June 2020, the BoJ tested and developed potential CBDC solutions in its sandbox.
Issuance of CBDCs by different countries
Currently, the first country to officially launch a functional digital currency for the central bank is the Bahamas. The Central Bank of the Bahamas announced the world’s first state-backed virtual currency, dubbed the Sand Dollar, in October 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated the timeline for central bank issuance of CBDCs. Many countries have announced that they are experimenting and working on developing their own digital currency.
China’s electronic payment in digital currency (DCEP) is being tested in major cities across the country. Its goal is to expand its growth as an economic power by testing the CBDC at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.