India to roll out retail CBDC on Dec. 1

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India will launch its retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot on Thursday, Dec. 1,  with plans to gradually expand trials, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced on Tuesday

See related article: Stablecoin, CBDC take center stage at Singapore’s Future of Finance Forum

Fast facts

  • The central bank said 13 cities will take part in the retail digital rupee pilot, starting with Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar in the first batch.
  • The pilot will be carried out through a select group of customers and merchants in the 13 cities.
  • Consumers will be able to pay with the digital rupee by scanning QR codes on their digital wallets on mobile devices, the RBI said.
  • As for banks, eight banks will participate in the retail pilot, with the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, and IDFC First Bank in the first batch. 
  • Digital rupees are cash in electronic form that doesn’t earn any interest but can be converted into other forms of currency, such as bank deposits, the RBI said.
  • On Nov. 1, the RBI launched its wholesale CBDC pilot to test the settlement of secondary market transactions in government securities.
  • The retail CBDC pilot aims to test the robustness of minting, distribution and retail uses of the digital rupee, according to the central bank.

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