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IDEMIA, JCB and Soft Space launch second phase of digital currency project
Thu, 21st Dec 2023

The global expert in identity technologies, IDEMIA, is working with Japan's only international payment brand, JCB Co Ltd, and Soft Space Sdn Bhd, a prominent fintech company, to launch phase two of the JCB Digital Currency (JCBDC) pilot project.

The initial phase of the JCBDC project proved successful in enabling merchants to accept Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) payments without revising their Point of Sale (POS) terminals or payment cards.

Following this accomplishment, the phase-two project was greenlighted, focusing on facilitating offline peer-to-peer (P2P) fund transfers. This includes transactions from one card to another, using a mobile Near-Field Communication (NFC) device as an intermediary, or directly between two NFC devices.

This expanded facility aims to assure users that CBDC fund transfers can occur securely and conveniently at any given time, regardless of internet connectivity, guaranteeing immediate availability of funds.

In phase two, consumers can either send CBDC funds offline by tapping their card to another person's mobile NFC device or transfer CBDC funds by tapping their mobile NFC device to another's. These transactions act as digital cash, replacing paper banknotes.

The driving technology behind this progressive project was provided by IDEMIA and Soft Space. They supplied the tokenization back-end server, mobile wallet application, card application, and SoftPOS solution, along with all the necessary APIs and SDKs for system and integration purposes.

The project protocol follows the industry standard for offline CBDC payments as formulated by IDEMIA, leveraging the expertise of Soft Space in contactless payments.

Romain Zanolo, IDEMIA Managing Director APAC Payment Services, commented on the project, "Our teams are proud to be taking part in this project, alongside JCB and Soft Space, which showcases IDEMIA's expertise, capacity for innovation in terms of CBDCs, and our belief in allowing the public to transfer funds offline either with their contactless card or with their mobile phone."

Joel Tay, Chief Executive Officer of Soft Space, expressed delight at the success of the first project phase and the possibility to explore and develop more real-life use cases in phase two, ensuring the eventual CBDC solution's practical societal use.

Koremitsu Sannomiya, a Board Member and Senior Executive Officer of JCB, also expressed his optimism for the collaboration, emphasizing the practical benefits for consumers derived from the ability to use offline P2P funds transfer in conjunction with new CBDC payment systems.

The project partners anticipate commencing a pilot for the second-phase project in early 2024.