Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is pleased to announce that it has successfully completed the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot.
In March 2021, BOJ announced that it was testing a prototype central bank digital currency with vendor eCurrency Mint Inc. in BOJ’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. This was followed in May 2021 by the commencement of an 8-month long pilot which ends today, 31 December 2021.
The scope of the CBDC pilot was limited to wallet providers who indicated their readiness to participate within the scheduled timeframe. National Commercial Bank (NCB) based on the extent of their experience in the Sandbox came onboard with BOJ to test the range of services to be offered using the CBDC solution.
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. Several activities were targeted and completed during the pilot.
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.
National Roll-Out Q1 2022
The National Roll-Out of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is scheduled for 1st quarter 2022 whereby:
1. NCB will continue onboarding existing customers and new customers;
2. Two additional wallet providers, who are now conducting virtual simulation testing, will be able to order CBDC from BOJ and distribute to their customers; and
3. The testing of transactions between customers of various participating wallet providers will be undertaken – interoperability.