The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) remains on track for rollout of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) during the first quarter of 2022.
Deputy Governor with responsibility for Banking, Currency Operations, and Financial Markets, Natalie Haynes, said that several key outputs are being targeted for the period.
These are passage of amendment to the Bank of Jamaica Act to make CBDC legal tender and the entity the sole issuer; increasing the number of deposit-taking institutions (DTIs) onboarding clients and ramping up the communication campaign to this end; and the BOJ completing its independent third-party quality assurance assessment of the system, the results of which will be made public.
Ms. Haynes was speaking during the BOJ’s digital quarterly media briefing on Monday (February 21).
She said that the National Commercial Bank (NCB) remains the sole CBDC wallet provider, and has already onboarded approximately 300 small merchants, inclusive of barbers, hairdressers, vendors, and cook shop operators.
She said that the entity will focus on getting more individual and small merchant clients on board during the quarter.
Mrs. Haynes said that the BOJ is testing the system with another DTI that acquired the hardware from Republic of Ireland-based technology provider, eCurrency Mint Incorporated, which was selected to support CBDC project implementation.
“So, hopefully, by the end of this quarter, that DTI will be ready to onboard customers. [But] we need more DTIs to come in so that CBDC can be more widely available to customers,” she pointed out.
CBDC is a digital form of central bank-issued currency and is, therefore, legal tender.
It is a fiat currency, which means it can be exchanged, dollar for dollar, with actual cash, and is issued to licensed DTIs on a wholesale basis.
Individuals, households, and businesses can use it to pay for goods and services as obtains with cash.
The BOJ said that the benefits to be derived by citizens, businesses and the Government from the adoption and introduction of a viable digital currency solution include increased financial inclusion and providing another means of efficient and secured payments.
Additionally, the BOJ said the CBDC represents an opportunity for DTIs to improve cash-management processes and costs.
Persons who already have bank accounts will be able to automatically obtain a CBDC account.
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