Jamaica’s central bank will reportedly commence the initial roll-out of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project in August.
According to a report by the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor Richard Byles made this known during a Rotary Club event earlier in July.
Detailing plans to begin the pilot phase in August, Byles revealed that the BOJ was currently working on the technical aspects of the CBDC within a sandbox environment.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the BOJ chose Irish technology firm eCurrency Mint as the tech provider for its national digital currency project back in March. The Ireland-based cryptography security company was chosen from a list of solution providers that began applying for the project back in July 2020.
“As we work through the technical minting of the currency, we have to test it rigorously as a pilot that we’ll do in August,” Byles stated, adding:
“In September to December we’ll be recruiting more of the banks to come on board and then we’ll gradually expand the pilot out into a full-fledged launch of the CBDC.”
The BOJ governor also provided more details about the planned CBDC, stating that financial institutions will serve as intermediaries between the central bank and consumers — both retail and corporate.
With the CBDC designed to complement Jamaica’s banknotes, financial institutions will be able to issue the digital currency to individual and business account holders at a rate of one CBDC “coin” to one Jamaican dollar.
Byles also stated the BOJ’s plan to use the CBDC as a platform to provide financial services to the unbanked population. In this regard, the central bank governor called on the assistance of telecom firms in the country as well as their significant network of retail payment merchants.
CBDC efforts have become a global endeavor, with central banks across the world establishing pilot studies or even launching sovereign digital currencies. A fellow Caribbean nation, the Bahamas, became one of the first countries to float a CBDCback in October 2020.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union recently launched its DCash digital currency in four or the currency union’s eight member states.