March 2, 2024

India is planning to introducing its own blockchain-based eRupee CBDC for commercial use. The country is mulling more ways to make this process simple for adoption. On Thursday, May 8, RBI Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar hinted that existing UPI QR codes could become interoperable with the Indian CBDC in the months to come. At this point, the RBI is considering if existing QR codes must act like a gateway for CBDC transactions. It, however, remains unclear by when would the RBI take a concrete decision on the subject.

Sankar was addressing a press conference on Thursday when he announced this update to the media.

“We are planning to make the UPI QR code interoperable [with the eRupee],” media reports quoted Sankar as saying.

Given that the UPI QR codes reportedly help over 300 million Indians facilitate online payments, their use for CBDC payments could aid more people adopt the payment means.

CBDC — central bank digital currency — is the virtual representation of a fiat currency on a blockchain network. Similar to cryptocurrency in functionality but controlled by central banks, CBDCs are capable of storing permanent transactional records on the blockchain, while also reducing the national dependency on cash notes.

India, at present, is on an advanced stage of trials for its eRupee CBDC.

Currently, eRupee worth over Rs. 130 crore are in circulation as part of the going trials. The detail was revealed by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in March.

Over 50,000 testers, 5,000 selected merchants and multiple banks are involved in the trial runs of the eRupee CBDC, which is being accepted at select Reliance stores in Mumbai.

India and UAE have also joined forces in agreeing to take the trials of their respective CBDCs to a cross-country level. The central banks of both the nations will collectively be testing how their CBDCs operate from the other country.

By the end of June, India aims to onboard a million users to its CBDC ecosystem, Sankar reportedly said in today’s press conference.

As of now, the government has not disclosed any special date on which this digital currency would be rolled out to the masses for daily use.


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