eRupee, the Indian central bank digital currency (CBDC), was reportedly used to process transactions worth Rs. 5.70 crore in the first four months since it entered the retail trials phase. The information was disclosed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as it responded to an RTI query initiated by Moneycontrol. The RBI launched eRupee retail trials in select locations across the country on December 1, 2022.
“As per the data published in the balance sheet of the Reserve Bank of India as on March 31, 2023, the E-Rupee issued for CBDC (Retail) at Rs 5.70 crore,” the central bank reportedly said responding to Moneycontrol’s RTI query last month.
CBDCs are an electronic, blockchain-based form of a sovereign currency. The use of CBDCs instead of cash would not only reduce reliance on paper notes, but also ensure that all transactions are recorded on a distributed ledger, safeguarding the information against tampering.
A total of thirteen banks, including Canara Bank and the State Bank of India (SBI), are assisting the RBI in conducting these trials. These banks also offered benefits and rewards to people experimenting with the eRupee, which helped the RBI meet its target of one million daily transactions by end of 2023.
In the months to come, the RBI is planning to load more features onto the eRupee, now that several Indian banks are letting people experiment with payments through it.
Last week, Shaktikanta Das, the governor of RBI, told the media that the eRupee CBDC is to be loaded with features supporting offline payments for rural regions and programmability feature for corporate uses.
Industry stakeholders from India’s Web3 sector weighed in on the situation on social networking platform. Nischal Shetty, the CEO of WazirX and the Co-Founder of recently launched crypto futures exchange Pi42, shared excitement on RBI’s CBDC plans in his post on X Friday.
“This is a great move to further grow the CBDC adoption and bring new use cases to the end users,” Shetty said. “If there’s a way to bridge this CBDC over to decentralized blockchains then we might see INR integrating into DeFi. This will help INR get stronger which would be a net positive for India,” he added. Members of Web3 community also took to X to comment on India’s CBDC plans.
India has launched another groundbreaking innovation in Banking with the introduction of OFFLINE payments via eRupee, following the tremendous success of #UPI.
— Darshak Raut (@darshaksinh) February 9, 2024
Last year in July, a survey conducted by the CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analyst) said that the Asia-Pacific region showed greater receptivity to CBDCs — especially among younger respondents.
“Financial inclusion and financial stability constitute two of the key motivations driving interest in CBDCs across the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the rapid rise and sudden fall of private cryptocurrencies have sparked interest in CBDCs,” the report had noted.