Finance Minister makes first transaction in digital currency

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke made the first digital currency transaction using the digital wallet, Lynk, on Tuesday.

He used the Lynk app to pay his hairstylist, Paul Mills of PaulBless Cutz, in the central bank’s digital currency, Jam-Dex, as he opened the debate on the 2022-23 budget.

Jam-Dex is the name given to the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) designed to be part of Jamaica’s digital payment system to facilitate greater financial inclusion and increase transaction speed while reducing the cost of banking for the public.

“Paul came to my house yesterday to give me a haircut before this presentation. When he finished I realized I didn’t have the money to pay. I only had a few – Paul is here today, and I will log into my Lynk account to pay Paul the $500 I owe him in Central Bank Digital Currency or Jam-Dex… DONE This is the first transaction public JAM-DEX ever performed in Jamaica,” exclaimed Clarke.

Barber, Paul Mills, of PaulBless Cutz, after receiving payment from his client, Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, via the CBDC on the Lynk app.

The national rollout of the CBDC is planned for the beginning of the next quarter.

To encourage the general public to sign up and create a Jam-Dex e-wallet, the GOJ is offering a Jam-Dex credit of $2,500 to the first 100,000 wallets opened beginning April 1, Dr. Clarke announced.

The BOJ plans to add four more wallet providers by June.

Last year, the BOJ minted $230 million of digital currency and issued $1 million to staff and another $5 million to the National Commercial Bank (NCB).

Natalie Haynes, Deputy Governor, Banking and Monetary Operations and Financial Markets Infrastructure at the BOJ, previously said the central bank has created a launch pad to accelerate government’s digital transformation through payments system infrastructure and developments in fintech.

She noted that Lynk, as a fintech development, creates this bridge between Jamaica’s core payment systems infrastructure and the public, facilitating financial inclusion.

Lynk will operate as a multi-currency wallet and allow users to transact in Jamaican dollars and Jam-Dex.

“Lynk, being Jamaica’s newest digital wallet, is excited to be at the forefront of regulatory technology by being the first to integrate the CBDC into our platform,” said Lynk CEO Vernon James.

“Our main goal is to ensure that our customers have seamless access to all payment channels,” he added. Lynk-to-Lynk transfers will remain free for all users, even transactions using Jam-Dex.”

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