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RBI to Launch Wholesale CBDC Pilot for Interbank Transactions in October

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is gearing up to introduce the pilot phase of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) designed for interbank transactions, particularly in the call money market. Central Bank Executive Director Ajay Kumar Choudhary has announced that the launch is expected to take place this October. This move follows the successful November 2022 pilot launch of the Digital Rupee-Wholesale (e-W) CBDC, which was initially limited to settling secondary market transactions in government securities.

The introduction of CBDC was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget 2022-23, with relevant amendments to the RBI Act, 1934, passed in the Finance Bill 2022. Nine prominent banks, including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank, were selected for the pilot project.

Additionally, RBI has already initiated a pilot for the retail version of CBDC (e-R) in December 2022, allowing users to transact using digital tokens that represent legal tender through digital wallets provided by participating banks. These developments highlight RBI’s commitment to exploring digital initiatives in the financial sector, with various initiatives showcased at the G20 Summit, including the Public Tech Platform (PTP) for Frictionless Credit, UPI One World, RuPay On-The-Go, and the Bharat Bill Payment System. Stay tuned for more updates on India’s digital currency landscape.