RBI to launch CBDC pilot next month

22 Nov 2022

India’s central bank is planning to carry out the retail pilot of the digital Rupee next month, following tests of the wholesale usage of the central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently in the final stages of preparing for the pilot, the Economic Times of India reports. Participants include the State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, and IDFC First Bank. However, the pilot will include all of India’s commercial banks at some point.

Every bank taking part in the trial period will test the digital Rupee among 10,000 to 50,000 users. Banks will work together with PayNearby and Bankit platforms in order to incorporate the new payment method. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will hold the CBDC infrastructure.

“The e-Rupee will be stored in a wallet, the denominations will be available as per the customer’s request, just like you request cash from an ATM. Banks are launching this only in select cities,” according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter.

Retailers and customers will need to download the wallets for the CBDC. However, at a later date, the central bank plans to fully integrate it with current digital banking services, Cointelegraph reports. The digital Rupee is aimed at supplementing the present payment system as opposed to being a replacement.

The Reserve Bank of India launched the wholesale segment pilot for the digital Rupee on 1st November. The principal use case has been secondary market transaction settlements.