The Bank of Jamaica has partnered with an Ireland-based company—eCurrency Mint—to pilot its central bank digital currency (CBDC) project. The project will commence between May and December of this year.
As reported by CoinGeek in July 2020, the bank was looking for a technology partner to commence its CBDC pilot in 2021. While inviting applications, it touted the potential of the CBDC, claiming it would increase financial inclusion through ‘efficient and secured payments.’
The bank announced in a press release published on March 23, “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 provider when the national CBDC roll-out begins in early 2022.” The project will allow the bank to test the CBDC for viability “while ensuring adequate consumer protection and data privacy before any introduction; to the Jamaican economy.”
Since 2011, eCurrency Mint has partnered with several institutions, including the Bank of Ireland, Swiss Re, billionaire Ray Dalio’s charity and Deloitte, to partake in CBDC development projects. Jonathan Dharmapalan, a former partner at Ernst & Young and Deloitte, heads this firm.
The bank’s announcement comes two weeks after Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke announced the complete launch of the CBDC would happen in 2022. Clarke said the CBDC would be critical in the government’s effort to digitize the Jamaican economy while addressing the parliament. The pandemic affected the economy; therefore, the government needed to expedite digitized payment methods. The CBDC would improve cash management processes and costs for banks.
Jamaica seems to be following in the footsteps of island nation Bahamas. Bahamas launched the world’s first official CBDC ‘Sand Dollar,’ making it a Caribbean development leader. It was launched officially after over two years of pilot tests. The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) developed the Sand Dollar, so it’s usable even while offline, enabling users to make or receive payments without an internet connection. The currency comes in handy given the nation’s proneness to natural disasters.