The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is this week launching a pilot scheme in four Indian cities to test the retail version of its prototype central bank digital currency (CBDC) for both in-store and peer-to-peer transactions, the central bank says.
The pilot will involve a closed user group in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar, who will carry out digital rupee transactions using a digital wallet issued by participating banks.
“The pilot will test the robustness of the entire process of digital rupee creation, distribution and retail usage in real time,” the RBI says.
After trials in the first four cities, the pilot will “later extend to Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla”, the central bank adds.
“The scope of the pilot may be expanded gradually to include more banks, users and locations as needed.”
State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank will support the first phase of the scheme with Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank due to “join this pilot subsequently”.
The RBI unveiled its plans to build a prototype digital rupee and test it in a range of scenarios and use cases in October.