Jamaican Central Bank to Release Jam-Dex CBDC to Early Adopters

The first 100,000 Jamaican citizens to use the country’s new central bank digital currency (CBDC), known as Jam-Dex, will receive a free ...

The first 100,000 Jamaican citizens to use the country’s new central bank digital currency (CBDC), known as Jam-Dex, will receive a free payment of $16 in hopes of promoting widespread adoption.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness first announced the news in a Facebook post on Thursday. The post received a mixed response, with some Facebook users praising Holness for “embracing a digital future”, while others expressed concern about the motives of the Jamaican government, accusing Holness of trying to “bribe” people. citizens in the federal banking system.

According to to the Jamaica Observer, approximately 17% of Jamaica’s population is currently unbanked. As social media users postulate about the government’s motives, Observer points out that remaining unbanked is both costly and time-consuming for the poorest Jamaicans. It is hoped that this new payment incentive, among othersencourage low and middle income citizens to join the national banking system.

The announcement comes as the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) officially finished its 8-month pilot program for Jam-Dex on December 31 last year, and is expected to complete a nationwide rollout as early as next month. The BoJ further highlighted that all Jamaicans with pre-existing bank accounts will automatically be eligible for Jam-Dex digital wallets.

Jamaican Finance Minister Nigel Clarke said in a speech in the nation’s House of Representatives on March 9 that Jam-Dex must achieve widespread adoption by citizens and their businesses to be successful.

According to report provided by the BoJ on February 17, the new digital currency will be called Jamaica Digital Exchange or Jam-Dex for short, and will come with its own logo and the following slogan, “no money, no problem”. The BoJ expects the currency to launch as early as next month.

The name “Jam-Dex”, met a lots of reviews for both technical and aesthetic reasons. While the Jam-Dex potentially refers to currencies being “exchanged”, and being both “digital” and “Jamaican”, the terminology has created a lot of confusion for many.

Twitter users were quick to point out the obvious misnomer in the currency’s namesake, as Jam-Dex is simply a digital currency while “DEX” in crypto parlance refers to a decentralized exchange, a place where cryptocurrencies are bought and sold.

Although China was one of the first countries to announce the development of its CBDC, the “digital yuan”, Caribbean countries have quickly become leaders in the adoption and proliferation of CBDCs – with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) now having rolled out its own CBDC, Cash for eight different member countries.

Related: CBDCs won’t impact private stablecoin market, says Tether CTO

DCash’s adoption, however, was mired after a crash on January 14 that saw the central bank-backed digital currency go offline for nearly 2 months. It was not until March 9 that the ECCB announcement that DCash was fully functional again, indicating that the reason for the crash was an “expiring certificate” on the Hyperledger Cloth which hosts the DCash Ledger.

Many more countries around the world are beginning to experiment with implementing CBDCs, with the Philippines announcing plans to launch the CBDCPh project as recently as March 8. Iran, Kenyaand the European Union are also among the most recent countries to start considering introducing some form of CBDC.