CBDCs: JCB, IDEMIA, Soft Space Launch “JCBDC” Pilot to Test CBDC In-Store Payments

Japan’s “only” international payment brand JCB Co., Ltd. has launched “JCBDC” (JCB Digital Currency) pilot project with identity technologies no. 1 IDEMIA and Fintech company Soft Space Sdn. Bhd.

JCBDC pilot will “develop a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) payment solution and conduct a pilot test with Tokyo merchants.”

Over the past few years, central banks in many countries and regions “have been testing CBDCs that should soon be widely accepted by consumers and merchants.”

However, merchants might be “reluctant to accept them, and mass-market rollout may be held up by people without smartphones, like children and the elderly, who could find the user interfaces and payment systems hugely challenging.”

As a result, JCB will “have CBDC acceptance tested using existing JCB Contactless – JCB’s EMV® based contactless payment, merchants, POS terminals and plastic card-based user interfaces, with guidance from IDEMIA and Soft Space.”

JCB, IDEMIA and Soft Space will “conclude payment system development by late 2022 and conduct the pilot test with Tokyo merchants until March 2023.”

Koremitsu Sannomiya, Board Member, Senior Executive Officer of JCB, said:

“It gives me great honor to announce our collaboration with IDEMIA and Soft Space on this project. This project proves that we can use existing payment acceptance hardware for new CBDC payment systems, which is a huge benefit for both consumers and merchants.”

Romain Zanolo, IDEMIA Managing Director APAC Financial Institutions, remarked:

“We at IDEMIA firmly believe that CBDCs are redefining the very fundamentals of the payment ecosystem. We’re proud that our ability to innovate has enabled CBDC payments with existing card and POS terminal hardware. IDEMIA’s, JCB’s and Soft Space’s joint payment system expertise will usher in worldwide CBDC growth.”

Soft Space CEO Joel Tay comments:

“We’re thrilled to be first in the world to trial CBDC acceptance on SoftPOS alongside our partners JCB and IDEMIA. Although CBDCs are still in their infancy, this pilot takes us forward from theory to reality, by harnessing our in-store payment experience and existing payment platform expertise.”

EMV® is “a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregistered trademark elsewhere.”

The EMV trademark is “owned by EMVCo, LLC.”

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