RBI set to launch first pilot for retail digital rupee on Dec 1
The RBI said that users will be able to transact with digital rupee through a digital wallet offered by participating banks and stored on mobile phones or devices. Transactions can be both Person to Person and to Merchant.
New Delhi, Nov 29: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to launch a pilot for retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) on 1 December. The digital rupee would be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender, the RBI said.
"The pilot would cover select locations in closed user group (CUG) comprising participating customers and merchants. The digital rupee would be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender. It would be issued in the same denominations that paper currency and coins are currently issued. It would be distributed through intermediaries, i.e., banks," RBI said in a statement.
"Users will be able to transact with e₹-R through a digital wallet offered by the participating banks and stored on mobile phones/devices. Transactions can be both Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Merchant (P2M). Payments to merchants can be made using QR codes displayed at merchant locations," the statement said.
Digital rupee features
The digital rupee would offer features of physical cash like trust, safety and settlement finality. As in the case of cash, it will not earn any interest and can be converted to other forms of money, like deposits with banks.
The pilot will test the robustness of the entire process of digital rupee creation, distribution and retail usage in real time. Different features and applications of the e₹-R token and architecture will be tested in future pilots, based on the learnings from this pilot.
8 banks identified
As many as eight banks have been identified for phase-wise participation in this pilot, the RBI said.
The first phase will begin with four banks-- State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank - in four cities across India.
Four more banks, including Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, will join this pilot subsequently.
The pilot would initially cover four cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar - and later extend to Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla.