KINGSTON – The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) reports that the pilot implementation of a local central bank digital currency (CBDC), which began in June, is on schedule.
This includes the minting of Jamaica’s first batch of CBDCs on August 9, totaling J $ 230 million, which will be issued to depository institutions and authorized payment service providers.
Speaking at the BOJ’s quarterly digital briefing on Friday, Deputy Governor Natalie Haynes said that a financial institution, the National Commercial Bank (NCB), has been engaged as the initial wallet (account) provider as part of the pilot project, which ends in December,
She told reporters that the CBDC will be issued to NCB in September, when they are expected to start rolling out to customers.
“They target, first, what they call friends and family, which would be staff and their families, then they will go to other BCN account holders, before moving on to other non-account holders. BCN “, explained the deputy governor.
Haynes said it was expected that details of CBDC client involvement would be released in October
Meanwhile, Gov. Richard Byles and Haynes said there had been positive comments so far about the introduction of the CBDC.
Byles said there was some degree of skepticism until a year ago, but stakeholders were now more positively oriented towards the implementation of the CBDC.
Meanwhile, the deputy governor said that depending on the level of interest in the CBDC, “it is up to the BOJ and others [prospective] portfolio providers to leverage it and intensify communication in order to [that] we have the full acceptability of the product.
CBDC is a digital form of currency issued by the central bank and therefore is legal tender which can be exchanged dollar for dollar with physical money.
Households and businesses will be able to use the CBDC to, among other things, make payments, as is now the case with cash.
The CBDC is backed by the central bank and issued to authorized financial institutions, including depository institutions on a wholesale basis, as is currently the case with physical currency.
The expected benefits of the CBDC for Jamaican citizens, businesses and government include increased financial inclusion, as it will provide another, easier to access means for efficient and secure payments.
For depository institutions and the BOJ itself, the CBDC offers an opportunity to improve cash management processes and costs. (CMC)