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50K Users ‘Say Yes!’ to India’s Go-Slow on CBDCs—and the RBI is Listening!

India is joining the digital currency party with its very own e-rupee! And guess what, it’s already a hit! 50,000 users and 5,000 merchants have hopped on board since the launch on December 1st, and over 0.77 million transactions have been carried out in just two months. 

India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, made the big announcement during her budget speech in February 2022, promising that the e-rupee would be launched in the 2022-2023 financial year. And, true to her word, the RBI launched the e-rupee for wholesale on November 1st and for retail on December 1st.

Now, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been a bit skeptical of cryptocurrencies in the past, so they’re taking their time with the e-rupee. After all, they want to make sure everything is ship-shape before they invite everyone to the party. So, for now, they’ve stopped onboarding new users. But don’t worry, more banks and cities will be joining in soon! The next phase of the e-rupee pilot will include five more banks and nine more cities.


Introducing the e-rupee with Guaranteed Central Bank Support!

The use of the e-rupee for the wholesale segment is limited to buying government securities from the secondary market, and it’s all to make interbank settlements in the security market a breeze by cutting out the middleman.

The e-rupee comes with an in-built guarantee from the central bank, but some bankers find it a bit tedious to provide settlements for every single trade instead of netting a group of trades in the existing clearing house system. But hey, change can be tough, and we’ve got to admit, the e-rupee is pretty cool with its central bank guarantee!

On a brighter note, Alfred Kelly, CEO of Visa, weighed in on the matter during a conference at the annual shareholders’ meeting last month. He thinks that stablecoins and CBDCs have a lot of potential in the global payments arena! So, let’s all keep an open mind and see where this digital currency journey takes us!