Jamaica successfully completes pilot ahead of CBDC roll out in Q1 2022

Rick Steves

The National Roll-Out of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2022, the Bank of Jamaica has announced.

Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has successfully completed the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot, an 8-month long test of a prototype CBDC with vendor eCurrency Mint Inc.

The scope of the CBDC pilot was limited to wallet providers who indicated their readiness to participate within the scheduled timeframe. The pilot also counted with the participation of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), which tested the range of services to be offered using the CBDC solution.

Success dependant on implementation in Jamaica

The Bank of Jamaica defined “success” for this CBDC pilot in partnership with vendor eCurrency Mint Inc.

“Success of the pilot project was dependent on whether a central bank digital currency along with the attendant technology solution could be successfully implemented in Jamaica.”

According to the central bank, several activities were targeted and completed during the pilot, including minting, issuance to wallet providers, and distribution to real customers. Below, the list of activities:

Activities Targeted and Completed During the Pilot

1. CBDC Minted
On 9 August 2021, BOJ, during its inaugural minting ceremony, minted $230 million worth of digital currency to be issued to deposit taking institutions and authorized payment service providers.

2. CBDC Issued to Wallet Providers
a. On 10 August 2021, BOJ issued to Bank of Jamaica’s Banking Department $1 million worth of CBDC to be distributed to staff.
b. On the 29 October 2021, the Bank issued $5 million worth of CBDC to NCB, marking this the first issuance of CBDC to a deposit taking institution.

3. CBDC Distributed to Retail Customers
NCB the first wallet provider in the pilot, successfully onboarded 57 customers which included 4 small merchants and 53 consumers. These customers conducted person-to person, cash-in and cash-out transactions through 37 accounts and completed transactions with small merchants (local craft jewellers, footwear designers and fashion and garment boutiques) through an NCB-sponsored event, “Market on the Lawn” held earlier in December 2021.

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Jamaica to launch digital currency in Q1 2022

The National Roll-Out of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2022, the Bank of Jamaica has announced.

The roll-out will continue onboarding existing customers and new customers as the central bank adds more wallet providers. Two firms are currently conducting virtual simulation testing and will soon be able to order CBDC from BOJ and distribute it to their customers.

The testing of transactions between customers of various participating wallet providers will be undertaken to ascertain the interoperability of the CBDC.

eCurrency Mint will also be the provider when the national CBDC roll-out begins in early 2022.

The firm is a pioneer of the hardware, software, and cryptographic security protocol technology that supports central banks to issue, distribute and supervise CBDC, a digital fiat currency that will operate alongside notes and coins as digital legal tender.

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