The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has announced that it has successfully completed the pilot project for the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), on 31 December 2021.
By the first quarter of 2022, the BOJ expects the CBDC to be ready for national roll-out.
Bank of Jamaica’s CBDC
According to reports, on 31 December 2021, the Bank of Jamaica successfully completed testing on the pilot project of its CBDC and is ready for a national roll-out in the first quarter of 2022.
— Bank of Jamaica (@CentralBankJA) December 31, 2021
“Bank of Jamaica’s CBDC pilot project was a success. View the press release.”
Basically, it has been since March 2021, that the BOJ has made it known to the world that it is testing a prototype of a Central Bank Digital Currency with vendor eCurrency Mint Inc. in the BOJ’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. And as of May 2021, an eight-month pilot has been running.
The press release, describes the activities targeted and completed during the pilot:
- CBDC minted
- CBDC issued to wallet providers
- CBDC distributed to retail customers
National roll-out in 2022
Last August 2021, during a financial ceremony, the BOJ reportedly made it official that it had minted the country’s first batch of the CBDC. The entire batch minted was 230 million Jamaican dollars (JMD), equivalent to $1.5 million issued to licensed depository institutions and payment service providers.
The following day, the BOJ additionally issued 1 million JMD as CBDC to the Bank of Jamaica banking department for distribution to staff, while in October 2021, another 5 million JMD in CBDC was issued for distribution to NCB.
NCB, the first wallet in the pilot, then proceeded with the test by engaging 57 customers, including 4 small merchants and 53 consumers to conduct person-to-person, cash-in and cash-out transactions across 37 accounts and completed transactions with small merchants (local artisan jewellers, shoe designers and fashion and clothing boutiques).
The national roll-out of the CBDC is planned for Q1 of 2022, with the NCB continuing its onboarding of existing and new customers, accompanied by 2 more new wallets in the pilot so as to test the interoperability of CBDC across multiple participants and multiple wallet providers.
The continuing evolution of Central Bank Digital Currencies
There is also a new project in this 2022, called mBridge, which uses Ethereum’s Hyperledger Besu blockchain that aims to be the CBDC for international transfers.
Tests and experiments are still taking place on mBridge, involving the existing 22 companies and four institutions from four jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, China, Thailand and the UAE.
Specifically, the latest update from November, mentions 15 potential business use cases of CBDCs that would be in the testing phase.