Jamaica ranks fourth among the top ten countries that have adopted central bank digital currency (CBDC).
That’s according to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) Global CBDC Index report, the second edition of which was released earlier this month.
The report shows that the top ten countries are led by Nigeria, with the Bahamas in second, China in third and the Eastern Caribbean as a grouping rounding out the top five.
The top ten CBDC countries ranked six through ten are Ukraine, Uruguay, Thailand, Sweden, and the Republic of Korea.
Now in its second year, the index is titled “The Race for Digital Currency.” The PwC report notes that these countries topped the indices of central bank retail projects globally in the index. A digital currency is a means of payment or money that exists in a purely electronic form.
“The index retail projects are led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) eNaira, the first CBDC in Africa, and the Sand Dollar, issued by the Central Bank of the Bahamas as legal tender in October 2020, making The Bahamas the first country to launch a CBDC,” the report states.
He also said that “China became the first major economy to pilot a CBDC in 2020 with the Digital Yuan, and as of March 2022, pilot programs are underway in 12 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.”
The PwC index is designed to measure the maturity level of central banks in deploying their own digital currency. It analyzes and ranks major retail and wholesale CBDC projects and also assesses the current stage of development of CBDC projects also considering central bank opinion and public interest.
When he opened the debate on the 2022/23 budget on March 8, Jamaican Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke made the first digital currency transaction in the country, using a digital wallet, Lynk.
Clarke used the Lynk app to pay her hairstylist, Paul Mills, of PaulBless Cutz, in the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) digital currency, Jam-Dex, on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Jam Dex is the name given to the central bank’s digital currency which is designed to be part of Jamaica’s digital payment system to facilitate greater financial inclusion and increase the speed of transactions while reducing the cost of banking for the public.
The CBDC’s nationwide rollout is now underway.
To encourage the general public to sign up and create a Jam-Dex e-wallet, the government is offering a Jam-Dex credit of $2,500 to the first 100,000 wallets opened on April 1.
The BOJ also plans to add four more wallet providers by June.
Last year, the BOJ minted $230 million in digital currency and issued $1 million to staff, and another $5 million to the National Commercial Bank.