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Bank of Jamaica completes first CBDC pilot

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Bank of Jamaica initially partnered with Irish crypto firm eCurrency Mint for its CBDC project in March 2021.

The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) has successfully completed its first central bank digital currency (CBDC), with the goal of rolling it out nationwide in the first quarter of 2022.

After proceeding with initial testing of the CBDC prototype in March 2021, Jamaica’s central bank completed an eight-month pilot last Friday, the Jamaica Information Service reported.

As part of the pilot, the BoJ minted 230 million Jamaican dollars (US $ 1.5 million) in CBDC for issuance to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers on August 9, 2021.

The central bank then issued 1 million JMD ($ 6,500) in digital currency to the staff of the BoJ’s banking department. On October 29, the bank also issued 5 million JMD ($ 32,000) in CBDC to the National Commercial Bank (NCB), one of Jamaica’s largest financial institutions.

According to the report, NCB was the first wallet provider in Jamaica’s CBDC pilot, integrating 57 clients, including four small merchants and 53 consumers. Customers were able to conduct person-to-person transactions, withdraw and withdraw cash at an NCB sponsored event in December 2021.

The BoJ now plans to proceed with a nationwide rollout in the first quarter of 2022, with the expectation of adding two new portfolio providers. These providers are already conducting virtual simulation tests and could request the CBDC from the BoJ and then distribute it to their clients. The central bank also plans to focus on interoperability by testing transactions between clients of different portfolio providers, the report notes.

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