The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) recently wrapped up the pilot of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) and says it’s on track for a nationwide rollout in the first quarter of 2022, according to a Cointelegraph report Monday (Jan. 3).
BOJ wrapped up its eight-month pilot of its CBDC Friday (Dec. 31) after launching its prototype test in March, according to the Jamaica Information Service. The bank minted 230 million Jamaican dollars ($1.5 million) worth of the CBDC for issuance to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers in early August, then issued 1 million JMD ($6,500) in digital currency to staffers.
The bank issued 5 million JMD ($32,000) worth of CBDC to the National Commercial Bank (NCB), one of the largest financial institutions in Jamaica, in late October.
NCB was the first digital wallet provider in Jamaica’s CBDC eight-month pilot, during which it added 57 customers, including four small merchants and 53 consumers. Customers could make person-to-person, cash-in and cash-out transactions at an NCB-sponsored event last month.
BOJ expects to add two new wallet providers when it launches its nationwide rollout sometime this quarter. The new providers have been conducting virtual simulation testing and will be able to order CBDC from BOJ and distribute it to customers. Bank officials will also focus on increased interoperability by testing transactions between customers of different wallet providers.
BOJ picked Irish cryptography security firm eCurrency Mint as the technology provider for its digital currency project in March.
Jamaica Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke said in August that CBDC is a key piece of the creation of a digital economy in Jamaica. He vowed that a legislative amendment to regulate CBDC will be in place before the fiscal year ends.
Jamaican businesses will be able to make CBDC payments and store value at no cost, said Clarke, noting the coin is not a cryptocurrency.