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India Set to Launch Digital Rupee This Week With Four Banks

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James
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In Brief

  • The retail pilot for the Indian digital rupee will be live on Thursday.
  • The pilot will begin with four banks and four cities for the first phase.
  • The community has a mixed reaction to the launch of the digital rupee.
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The Indian digital rupee retail pilot is set to launch on Dec 1 with four banks in four cities. What does the crypto community have to say?

According to a press release from India’s central bank- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the first retail pilot of the digital rupee is all set to launch on Dec. 1. RBI already launched a wholesale pilot for the digital rupee on Nov. 1.

According to RBI, the e-rupee provides “features of physical cash like trust, safety, and settlement finality.” It will not earn any interest, just like physical cash.

Who can Access the Indian Digital Rupee

Initially, the digital rupee could only be accessed through wallets created by four banks: State Bank of India, ICICI bank, Yes bank, and IDFC First bank. It is limited to four cities: Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Bhubaneshwar. As the government has its learnings from the first pilot, it will extend the digital rupee to more cities and banks.

Digital Rupee vs. UPI

India has a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system for instant peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant real-time transactions. Users can make payments via QR code or UPI ID using mobile devices. It has achieved large-scale adoption. According to an Economic Times report, more than 260 million people use UPI in India.

UPI transactions are bank-to-bank transactions. When a user makes the transaction using UPI, there is no actual transfer of the amount, unlike when someone transacts using physical cash. Periodically, banks settle all the UPI transactions done by the users by actually transferring the amount. 

Whereas the digital rupee offers settlement finality just like transactions using physical cash. It is a legal tender issued by the government when someone transacts using the digital rupee; there is no need for intermediary banks. A customer won’t need a bank account to transfer the digital rupee.

What is Community Sentiment?

While some believe that it is a great initiative by the government to adopt the latest technology, a portion of the crypto community criticizes the CBDC as it can bring the “most extreme form of censorship.” 

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh started investing in crypto during the 2021 bull market. He took the opportunity of the market crash in May to learn more about Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Since...