Bank of Jamaica plans nationwide rollout of CBDC in Q1

17 Jan 2022

Earlier this month, the Bank of Jamaica completed its first central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, aiming for a national rollout in Q1 2022.

Following the initial prototype testing in March last year, the Bank of Jamaica completed the eight month-long pilot on 31 December 2021, as per the Jamaica Information Service.

Since then, prime minister, Andrew Holness stated he forecasts the majority of Jamaica’s population would quickly adopt the digital currency, with more than 70% using the CBDC within a five-year period.

Within a Bloomberg interview, Holness said the addition of the digital currency would lead to greater government accountability thanks to easier tracking of public resources.

Although he referred to initial challenges associated with the launch of the CBDC across Jamaica, the prime minister said the government has to “figure out how to give people access to digital devices and the internet in general.”

The central bank is among the first in the world to complete a nationwide CBDC pilot project. The pilot was carried out with Irish cryptography business eCurrency Mint. 

The Bank of Jamaica has minted 230 million Jamaican dollars (JMD) ($1.5 million) worth of the CBDC for issuance to payment service providers and institutions, Cointelegraph reports. The central bank then issued 1 million JMD in CBDC to banking department staff and 5 million JMD to the National Commercial Bank.

As well as the nationwide rollout in the first quarter of this year, two new wallet providers for the CBDC are set to be added. The Bank of Jamaica is also planning to focus on interoperability by testing transactions between clients of different wallet providers.