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Jamaica plans to rollout CBDC in the first quarter of 2022

The CBDC pilot, which ran for eight months, was completed on December 31, 2021.

Kingston, Jamaica / Image by: grassrootsgroundswell / Flickr

Fri, 07 Jan 2022, 10:32 am UTC

Jamaica is moving ahead with its central bank digital currency project. After completing the pilot last year, the country is set to roll out its digital is set to roll out its CBDC by the first quarter of 2022.

“Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot,” Bank of Jamaica said in a press release. The pilot, which ran for eight months, was completed on December 31, 2021.

Bank of Jamaica announced in March 2021 that it will be testing a prototype central bank in BOJ’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. The 8-month pilot commenced in May 2021 and involved the Ireland-based technology firm eCurrency Mint.

The CBDC pilot was limited to wallet providers who were ready to participate within the indicated time frame. With its experience in the Sandbox, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) was also involved in the pilot and worked with the central bank in testing the range of services using the CBDC.

“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,” the central bank explained. “Several activities were targeted and completed during the pilot.”

As part of the pilot, BOJ minted J$230 million (circa $1.5 million) worth of digital currency during the inaugural minting ceremony on August 9, 2021. These were issued to authorized payment service providers as well as deposit-taking institutions.

The BOJ issued $1 million worth of CBDC to its Banking Department on August 10, 2021, which are intended to be further distributed to staff. Meanwhile, the first CBDC issuance to a deposit-taking institution happened on October 29, 2021, when the BOJ issued $5 million worth of digital currency to NCB.

As part of the CBDC pilot, the NCB onboarded 4 small merchants and 53 consumers. They successfully conducted person-to-person, cash-in, and cash transactions through 37 accounts.

With the completion of the pilot, Jamaica is not ready for the next phase of the project. “The National Roll-Out of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is scheduled for 1st quarter 2022,” the BOJ announced.

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