The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) has successfully completed an eight month long Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) trial, and is now preparing for a national roll out the digital currency in Q1 2022.
According to the announcement, the BoJ’s CBDC trial — which began back in May 2021, and finished on 31 December — follows after a successful initial CBDC prototype testing in March. Jamaica’s central bank worked closely with Ireland-based cryptography security firm eCurrency Mint during these eight months, as it was chosen in March as the technology provider for the CBDC project. The bank said in a statement:
“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.”
As part of the trial, the BoJ minted 230 million JMD (around $1.5 million) worth of the digital currency meant for issuance to institutions and authorized payment service providers. The bank also issued 1 million JMD ($6,500) worth of the currency to its banking department staff, as well as 5 million JMD ($32,000) to the National Commercial Bank (NCB), which also came on board to test which services could use the CBDC solution.
The CBDC tests were conducted with the help of 57 customers — four of which were small merchants and the rest consumers — and included person-to-person, cash-in, and cash-out transactions during an event in December sponsored by the NCB. The bank is now targeting a Q1 2022 national rollout of the Jamaican CBDC, prior to which it plans to add two additional wallet providers, as well as conduct transaction tests between customers of different wallets.