The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) has finished the development of its first central bank digital currency (CBDC), with a national launch planned for the first quarter of 2022. In March 2021, the Bank of Jamaica announced a partnership with the Irish cryptography firm eCurrency Mint for its CBDC initiative.
The BoJ issued 230 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) ($1.5 million) of the CBDC as part of the pilot on Aug. 9, 2021, for issuance to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers.
The central bank then distributed 1 million JMD ($6,500) in digital currency to the banking department’s employees. On October 29, the bank also issued 5 million JMD ($32,000) worth of CBDC to the National Commercial Bank (NCB), one of the largest financial institutions in Jamaica.
Bank of Jamaica to Support More Wallet Providers
The NCB was the first wallet provider in Jamaica’s CBDC experiment, according to the report, onboarding 57 customers, including four small retailers and 53 consumers. At an NCB-sponsored event in December 2021, customers conducted person-to-person, cash-in, and cash-out transactions.
The Bank of Jamaica intends to launch a statewide rollout in Q1 2022, with two new wallet providers expected to be included. These companies have already completed virtual simulation testing and will be allowed to order CBDC from BoJ and distribute it to their clients. According to the report, the central bank intends to focus on interoperability by testing transactions between clients of different wallet providers.
As previously reported, BoJ chose eCurrency Mint, an Irish cryptographic security firm, as the technology provider in March 2021. The firm is known for being involved in the CBDC development in countries such as Senegal. The BoJ previously invited technology providers to submit applications for its CBDC project in July 2020.