The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Jamaica will be receiving its allotment of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) next month, followed by a gradual roll-out.

Earlier this month, the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) minted $230 million worth of its new CBDC as a part of the pilot program that will run till the end of 2021. The NCB is the only wallet provider approved for the program so far and is yet to receive its allocation of the CBDC.

CBDC Program On Track: BOJ Official

According to BOJ Deputy Governor for banking and currency operations and financial markets, Natalie Haynes, the CBDC roll-out program will commence with staff accounts. At the bank’s quarterly monetary policy press conference last Friday, she said:

“NCB’s plan in terms of roll-out to customers is targeting first what they call friends and family – staff and their families – then they would move to other NCB account holders prior to moving to non-NCB account holders.”

Haynes also spoke about the implementation of the pilot program, which started in June and has been proceeding as per schedule. She confirmed that the first step of the program, which was to get the interconnectivity between BOJ and the wallet provider, has been implemented. Furthermore, she clarified that the CBDC would be a direct substitute for physical cash; it will not impact the regular money supply or affect inflation.

Jamaica Goes Digital

Earlier in August, the BOJ announced the launch of its CBDC program to be issued to deposit-taking institutions and authorized payment service providers. Driven by the need to increase financial inclusion in the country, especially in the post-pandemic market, the BOJ aims to reduce the country’s cash dependency through this program. Since many Jamaicans are estimated to be unbanked, most of the country is highly cash-dependant. The CBDC program is targeting to curtail that by introducing the digital currency that will replace physical cash.

BOJ has been featuring sporadically on crypto news ever since it issued a warning against crypto transactions back in July. Based on a report published in the Jamaica Observer, the BOJ had taken a cautious approach towards cryptocurrency due to concerns over its volatility. The statement released by the bank said,

“The bank is playing its role as a responsible central bank to caution our citizens, as we have done in the past. The last notice of this nature was issued in 2018, this is merely a reminder.

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