Jam-Dex, the national digital currency of Jamaica, is launching soon and the first 100,000 user are set to gain an additional of $16 (roughly Rs. 1,200). This incentive strategy has been devised by the Jamaican government to get more people to become early adopters of the Jam-Dex virtual money. The development was announced by Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness on Facebook, that garnered him both praises as well as criticism from his followers. While some lauded his pro-digital approach to the future, the others accused him of bribing innocent nationals into trying out the central bank digital currency (CBDC).
A CBDC is a lot like cryptocurrency, built on the blockchain network and virtual in nature. CBDCs however, are regulated by the central banks making their transactions centralised and traceable, as opposed to the decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies.
Jamaica has been working on its CBDC for some time now, and Jam-Dex is currently at the brink of being officially rolled out in the Caribbean nation. It completed its eight-month-long pilot testing on December 31 last year.
As per Nigel Clarke, “the Jamaican finance minister, all Jamaicans will have access to Jam-Dex through an enabled wallet provider – a payment service provider or a bank”.
Users can obtain a Jam Dex wallet automatically if they already have a bank account. If you don’t have a bank account, all that is required to set up a Jam Dex-enabled wallet are simplified Know Your Customer information.
— Nigel Clarke (@NigelClarkeJa) March 8, 2022
The government there is promoting the usage of Jam-Dex with financial incentives so that it encourages underprivileged citizens to join the national banking system.
In a recent report, the Jamaica Observer had said that around 17 percent of the total Jamaican population is currently unbanked.
All Jamaicans who already have bank accounts will automatically be eligible to get government-made Jam-Dex digital wallets.
Last month, the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) in an official statement explained that the inception of Jam-Dex is inspired by what the currency means — Jamaica Digital Exchange.
Its tagline is, “No Cash, No Problem!” and its logo is inspired by the national fruit of Jamaica, called the ackee.
The name, the tagline, as well as the logo of Jam-Dex were picked out of submissions made by citizens of the nation.
Along with Jamaica, other nations like Russia, US, and India are also working on developing their respective CBDCs.
Russia has already begun testing its CBDC named Digital Ruble.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, for instance, has said that she expects the nation’s central bank to launch a CBDC this year, accelerating the timeline from the earlier 2022-2023 announcement.