The retail pilot for RBI’s CBDC, launched December last year, is now in its fifth month. With over five thousand merchants enrolled to participate by eight banks, the e-Rupee is the answer to the rise of cryptocurrencies as a payment medium, and will be the national digital currency of India with the use of a central ledger of RBI.
Paying by the e-Rupee can be done by a mobile app and does not require an internet connection. The pilot phase has revealed some flaws and errors too while making transactions. There were over 50,000 users invited by banks, and over 7 lakh transactions were done by end of January.
According to a media report, among the errors faced by invited users were related to login and making payments. The app has a QR code scanner just like other UPI apps.
Since the e-rupee represents real rupee, how much of it is in circulation? According to RBI, by end of January over 2 crore of virtual rupee was in circulation. This figure may include both wholesale (bulk settlement by banks) and retail uses.
In other parts of the world, Russia is expected to start its pilot testing of the virtual Ruble. South Africa is testing its wholesale digital currency. The UAE has announced its strategy for digital currency, and has enrolled G42 Cloud and R3 as partners.
According to a global private bank, tokenization and CBDC will attract users and once can expect a large-scale adoption in the future. Tokenization is an attractive feature used in blockchain to split the value or worth of a real-world asset like property, or an artistic creation, into smaller pieces or shares in the form of tokens, which can then be sold or traded publicly.
The digital Yen CBDC of Japan is nearing its launch this month after completing the initial testing in March.
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