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Jamaica stock exchange cryptocurrencies

The leading stock exchange in Jamaica is to open up to cryptocurrencies as tradable assets, with listings expected to appear on the exchange by the end of 2018.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange said this week that it had agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Blockstation, a blockchain startup, to create a new cryptocurrency trading platform, which is expected to go live over the next few months.

Discussing the move, Marlene Street Forrest, the managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, said that the decision to list cryptocurrencies was a natural fit with their other products like equities and bonds.

“The end game at the end of the day is to trade tokens, the end game is smart contacts, the end game is to provide that area of the market that would like this product, to start to do so in a secure manner.”

The new platform will be developed by Blockstation and subsequently networked with existing Jamaica Stock Exchange technology in order to open up investments in cryptocurrency to qualified investors.

She described the move as part of a wider cryptocurrency strategy at the exchange, without ruling out suggestions that the stock exchange could look to introduce its own cryptocurrency at some stage in the future.

“The environment changes, the entire ecosystem changes, so at that point in time that might be the case, (although) at this point in time that is not a discussion.”

According to the co-founder of Blockstation, Jai Waterman, the company has been working with the stock exchange for around six months to develop the platform, based on a customized model of their pre-existing technology.

Some of the specific customizations he flagged included measures to detect fraud and market manipulation, as well as other tools for ensuring compliance with securities laws.

“Our mission is to provide … a secure method of trading cryptocurrencies with broker-dealers and stock exchanges. We’re providing the stock exchange the technology for a broker-dealer network and repository, so that from end to end, their life cycle of trading – just like with securities – they can do the exact same thing with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

While the development is expected to be rolled out by the end of the year, there is no firm timeline for launch. Likewise, there are no details about which cryptocurrencies will be supported by the exchange.

Regardless, the move represents a further step for cryptocurrency into the mainstream world, and one of the most significant moves to date in Jamaica to open up crypto markets to everyday investors.