Cryptocurrency Trading to Come to Jamaica This Summer

July 8, 2021

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has never been higher, even after a dip in the market in 2021, and there is more demand than ever for crypto trading and investment solutions. One of the biggest reasons for this is that crypto is now being used across various industries as a payment option, which increases its appeal as more than just a speculative or investment asset. This is largely being driven by online businesses and sectors, and the online gambling industry is a prime example. There are many online casinos today which offer users the option of placing their bets via cryptocurrencies, and players can therefore play blackjack with crypto and other popular casino table games through the use of cryptocurrencies.

Crypto continues to expand in terms of its availability across the world, and in this light, it is quite encouraging to note that cryptocurrency trading will soon be available on the Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE), in another step forward for the crypto industry. Most estimates are that crypto trading on the JSE will be available at some point in the third quarter of 2021. Of course, Jamaica has its own connection to crypto, specifically Dogecoin. Back in 2014, over US$25 million was raised using Dogecoin to send the island’s bobsled team to the Winter Olympics.

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According to Denise Marshall-Miller, the manager of bond trading, equity and stockbroking at Victoria Mutual Wealth Management, the process to buy cryptocurrency on the local stock market would involve a broker who would act as the middleman. The activity would be powered by Blockstation, an end-to-end digital asset trading platform. The JSE had signed an agreement with Blockstation in 2019. That master agreement enables live trading of digital assets and security tokens in a regulated and secured environment.

This is an important development, as with some local financial insitutitions blocking Jamaicans from transferring funds into their cryptocurrency coin wallets online, a number of Jamaicans have been using their credit cards to beat the system and make purchases. However, they are often faced with higher fees and are exposed to other risks. This move will increase safety and security for Jamaicans looking to trade and invest in crypto, and will also offer much more flexibility to companies as well. Companies looking to raise funds will be able to come to the market in the form of a securitised token offering (STO), a replication of the traditional initial public offering (IPO). However, unlike IPOs, money for an STO can also be raised beyond Jamaica’s borders.

This is not the first attempt to bring cryptocurrency trading to Jamaica. In 2016, the UK-based CARICOIN was among the first stakeholders hoping to launch a licensed Bitcoin exchange in the island. According to CEO of CARICOIN, Karsten Becker, the company was in talks with the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ); however, no licences were issued by the central bank, forcing the company to shift its focus elsewhere. However, it is a different situation now, with increased and improved regulations on crypto markets worldwide giving more confidence to regulators as well as the public, which has led to these developments all over the world for the last couple of years. Another area to watch in the space is DeFi, short for ‘Decentralised Finance’, which is emerging due to their involvement in peer-to-peer loans. As this new ecosystem grows and takes over from traditional systems, the value of the market will continue to set new records.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are both poised to increase even more in value over the next couple of years, with Bitcoin projected to reach as high as a million dollars, with big banks and hedge funds investing in the currency. Ethereum, on the other hand, has potential due to the presence of smart contracts on the blockchain as well as a number of other features that are set to be released as part of Ethereum 2.0. Overall, the crypto market is at an inflection point at the moment, so now is the right time to invest for the long-term, as the value of the market will definitely increase by several times in the next few years. Thus, Jamaicans will be able to take advantage of this through the JSE now, and we can expect this to be extremely popular once it is launched.



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