JCB to pilot softPOS technology for central bank digital currency transactions

SOFTPOS: Users will be able to use a standard NFC device to transfer digital cash from one person to another

Japan-based payments network JCB is to pilot a system that enables users to transfer central bank digital currency (CBDC) from a physical contactless card or their NFC smartphone to another person’s card or mobile device without needing an internet connection.

The offline P2P trial forms phase two of JCB’s ongoing CBDC pilot — known as JCBDC — and will test a system for making peer-to-peer digital currency transfers either from one physical card to another via an intermediary NFC mobile device or directly between NFC smartphones.

“In one option, consumers can send CBDC funds offline by tapping one person’s card to another person’s mobile NFC device. Then another person can tap their card to their mobile NFC phone to receive CBDC funds,” explains Soft Space, the payments platform collaborating on the project with JCB and identity technology provider Idemia.

“Such a stored value card is used to securely store and transfer offline CBDC funds, thus acting as a digital version of cash in lieu of paper banknotes.

“Another option for consumers is to transfer CBDC funds offline by tapping their mobile NFC device to another person’s mobile NFC device. Both payer’s and payee’s mobile NFC devices operate off the network when CBDC funds are sent and received.”

“This JCBDC project is aimed at ensuring that CBDC fund transfers can be done securely and conveniently, by anyone, at any time, with or without internet connectivity, with an immediate guarantee of fund availability,” Soft Space adds.

JCB announced the first phase of its CBDC project — which tested the use of existing contactless payment cards, point of sale hardware and softPOS payment acceptance technology for in-store CBDC payments — in October 2022.

JCB to pilot softPOS technology for central bank digital currency transactions was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.