JCB, IDEMIA, and Soft Space Advance to Phase 2 in Offline Digital Currency Project

JCB, IDEMIA, and Soft Space Advance to Phase 2 in Offline Digital Currency Project

by December 13, 2023

Japanese international payments firm JCB along with French identity technologies company IDEMIA and Malaysian fintech Soft Space will be embarking on the second phase of their “JCB Digital Currency” (JCBDC) pilot project in early 2024.

This initiative aims to experiment with offline peer-to-peer (P2P) payments using Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Previously, in the first phase of the JCBDC project that kicked off in December 2022, the trio developed a CBDC payment solution, which allowed merchants to accept digital currency payments without altering their existing point-of-sale systems or payment cards.

Following the success of this pilot in Tokyo earlier in 2023, the companies have moved forward to the second phase which enables users to transfer CBDC funds between individuals using cards and mobile phones, even in the absence of internet connectivity.

This offline P2P payment method can be executed either card-to-card with a mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) device as a mediator, or directly from one mobile NFC device to another.

One of the key features includes the use of a stored-value card (SVC), acting as a digital equivalent to cash, enabling the secure storage and transfer of CBDC funds offline. Alternatively, users can opt for direct mobile NFC device transfers. Both methods ensure transactions are conducted off the network.

The technical aspects of the project are powered by IDEMIA and Soft Space, which have contributed their expertise in tokenisation back-end server, mobile wallet applications, card applications, and contactless payment technologies.

IDEMIA’s protocol for offline CBDC payments and Soft Space’s expertise in contactless solutions are central to this initiative.

The JCBDC project’s goal is to provide a secure, convenient, and universally accessible means of transferring CBDC funds, with or without internet access.

Romain Zanolo

Romain Zanolo

“Our teams are proud to be taking part in this project, alongside JCB and Soft Space, which highlights IDEMIA’s expertise and capacity for innovation in terms of CBDCs.


We are convinced that allowing the public to transfer funds offline either with their contactless card or with their mobile phone will give them a great flexibility of choice. With this new phase, we continue to build on the expertise gained from previous successes with central banks across the world.”

said Romain Zanolo, IDEMIA Managing Director APAC Payment Services.

Joel Tay

Joel Tay

“We are delighted that phase one of the project has been successful, leveraging on existing technologies that JCB already utilises, such as its contactless EMV technologies and Tap on Mobile SoftPOS.


In phase two, we will also evaluate host card emulation (HCE) and various other offline scenarios we are developing with JCB to further develop more real-life use cases aimed at ensuring that the eventual CBDC solution we implement will be of practical use in society.”

said Joel Tay, Chief Executive Officer of Soft Space.