NPCI to host RBI-backed retail CBDC, trials soon

The Reserve Bank of India‘s (RBI) proposed rollout of the retail central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) will be interoperable with the present forms of payment systems, bankers aware of the developments said.

The platform for CBDC is being hosted by the National Payments Corporation of India and will be similar to the current UPI platform, said bankers involved in the rollout. The central bank wants each bank to test the retail CBDC with 10,000 to 50,000 users for the pilot project.

State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank are participating in the trial project, which will be later extended to the banking system.

“Just like we have a common library for UPI, the technology for CBDC is similar to that and it is being hosted by NPCI, it will be interoperable with the current payment platforms,” a person involved in the pilot said. “The e-rupee will be stored in a wallet, and the denominations will be available as per the customer’s request, just like you request cash from an ATM. Banks are launching this only in select cities.”

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