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Jamaica is ‘Determined’ to Bring CBDC to Address Cash Problems: BOJ Governor

Jamaica, which introduced its JAM-DEX central bank digital currency (CBDC) in 2021, is resolute in overcoming CBDC challenges.

According to Richard Byles, the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), the BOJ is committed to addressing the sluggish implementation of their CBDC.

Several early adopters of CBDCs, including Nigeria, the Bahamas, and Jamaica, have experienced relatively low adoption rates. As of March 2022, there were 190,000 JAM-DEX users, prompting efforts to roll out incentives to bolster usage due to the low adoption rates.

Byles acknowledged, “Being among the first in the world comes with its unique challenges.” He made these remarks during the BOJ’s quarterly monetary policy report press conference on Wednesday, where he was joined by senior deputy governor Dr. Wayne Robinson.

“We’re encountering a situation where as we tackle one issue and make progress, another one surfaces. I suppose that’s par for the course when you’re pioneering,” he remarked, as reported locally. “We don’t have a roadmap laid out by others, but we are resolute.”

Furthermore, he highlighted the challenges associated with cash usage in the jurisdiction, which have led to persistent issues. The security concerns surrounding cash have instilled fear among the populace, he added.

“When you consider all the problems and grievances related to cash, it becomes evident that digitization is the only viable solution. All those challenges vanish with digital transactions, whether it’s through credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, or CBDCs – that’s the direction we aim to take in this country.”

Jamaica CBDC Faces Lower ‘Merchant Adoption’

Currently, the National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB) stands as the sole financial institution facilitating JAM-DEX transactions via the Lynk wallet.

In December 2022, a second digital wallet provider, JN Bank, was integrated into JAM-DEX. The bank has been finalizing its wallet application for public use, with the JN wallet poised to launch for CBDC transactions imminently.

“The uptake is still not as high as we’d like it to be at this juncture. The primary issue lies in merchant adoption,” stated Natalie Haynes, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Jamaica overseeing banking and currency operations.

“Many larger merchants prefer JAM-DEX payments to be processed through a single point-of-sale terminal. Therefore, we are exploring a solution within the sandbox environment, testing the utilization of a dynamic QR code,” she elaborated.

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