India Explores Offline Functionality of CBDC — RBI Executive

India has recently launched domestically central bank digital currency (CBDC) — the digital rupee — is now being tested for offline functionality, revealed Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

RBI — India’s central bank and regulatory authority — started wholesale digital rupee pilot segment on November 1, 2022, involving 50,000 users and 5,000 merchants for real-world testing. As of February 25, about $134 million and 800,000 transactions have been completed via wholesale CBDC.

Based on this progress, Choudhary said the RBI is looking at the offline functionality of CBDC. Speaking to CNBC TV18, he stated RBI is measuring CBDC’s potential for cross-border transactions and connectivity with legacy systems in other countries. He added:

“We look forward to the participation of the private sector and fintech companies in the CBDC. We will see their contribution, especially in offline and cross-border CBDC transactions.”

Also, speaking on behalf of the RBI, Choudhary said that CBDC will soon become a medium of exchange and needs all the features of physical currency, including anonymity.

India’s motivation for launching the CBDC was to improve financial inclusion in the region and usher in the digital economy. Choudhary also told CNBC-TV18 that CBDC will eventually act as a substitute for cryptocurrencies.

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On February 21, India’s national payments network, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), expanded its services to Singapore.

UPI-PayNow integration allows citizens of India and Singapore to send money across borders quickly.

Initially, four major Indian banks – State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank and ICICI Bank – will facilitate outgoing remittances. Axis Bank and DBS Bank India will facilitate inbound remittances. Singapore’s DBS Bank and Liquid Group will provide the service to consumers in the region.