Bank of Jamaica to launch nationwide digital currency

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The Bank of Jamaica is preparing to issue a nationwide digital currency for the first time in its history following recent approval from legislators.

The move is expected to help many on the island of nearly 3 million who don’t have bank accounts, according to a government statement issued over the weekend.

The move comes almost two years after the Bahamas became the first country to roll out a digital currency nationwide and more than a year after the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank created its own form of blockchain-based currency, which is available in several island nations including St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Jamaica had launched a small-scale eight-month pilot program last year before legislators on Friday approved a bill authorizing the government’s bank to formally issue and back the digital currency.

Unlike cryptocurrencies, Jamaica’s digital currency is issued by an official central bank and has a fixed value that allows it to be exchanged dollar for dollar.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up