Like some other countries working on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), Jamaica has announced that it would be piloting a CBDC project in partnership with an Ireland-based crypto company eCurrency Mint.
Jamaica To Pilot CBDC In May
The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) disclosed that the CBDC project would commence from May to December this year.
The digital currency is then expected to be officially rolled out in the country in early 2022, and eCurrency Mint will be the provider, the BoJ said.
Last year, the Jamaican Central bank started looking for technology firms to partner with to develop and test potential CBDC solutions in its sandbox.
Announcing its chosen partner in a press release published on March 23, the bank said;
“After an extensive procurement process, eCurrency Mint has chosen to support us in testing the CBDC solution in the Bank’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox between May and December 2021. eCurrency Mint will also be the sole provider when the national CBDC roll-out begins in early 2022.”
Founded in 2011, the eCurrency Mint provides an end-to-end solution that enables central banks to securely and efficiently issue digital fiat currencies.
The company provides the hardware, software, and cryptographic security protocol technology that central banks need to issue a digital currency.
eCurrency Mint has worked with several institutions in their CBDC development projects, such as the Bank of Ireland, Swiss Re, billionaire Ray Dalio’s charity, and Deloitte.
Jamaica’s Progress With CBDCs
Since early last year, Jamaica has been working on a CBDC project. The bank had introduced its fintech regulatory sandbox in May 2020 in a tweet while also disclosing that it was researching CBDCs. The guidelines for the sandbox were then released by the BoJ in June last year.
From a local media outlet, the Finance Minister, Nigel Clarke, said the CBDC would help Jamaica transition into the digital society. He also said it could greatly improve financial inclusion by making financial services available to the Caribbean nation’s unbanked population.
Clarke also noted that CBDCs and cryptocurrencies are not the same. He said that while CBDCs are issued and backed by Jamaica’s central bank (BoJ), cryptocurrencies are not endorsed by any regulatory authority.
He added that the CBDC would be legal tender and interchangeable with the Jamaican dollar in cash on a one-to-one basis.
Meanwhile, while China leads the pack, countries like Jamaica are taking their time and doing due diligence before launching their digital currency.
Jamaica is hot on the heels of fellow island nation, Bahamas. Bahamas launched its CBDC called Sand Dollar after over two years of pilot tests.