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The RBI is yet to announce when and whether the Digital Rupee will be launched for general use.
India’s largest retail chain, Reliance Retail has added support for the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) dubbed the Digital Rupee. As reported by TechCrunch, the company said it had partnered with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and fintech firm Innoviti Technologies to launch in-store support for the digital rupee.
The Indian CBDC is still in its trial stages after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made the announcement last year. The trial is limited to institutions and merchants and is targeted at retail consumers only. With Reliance Retail participating in the trial, the company said users who want to make payment with the Digital Rupee will be given a QR code with which to complete their transaction.
With the Reliance Retail embrace of the CBDC starting at its gourmet store line Freshpik, the firm plans to roll out the feature to the rest of its outlets eventually.
“This historic initiative of pioneering the digital currency acceptance at our stores is in line with the company’s strategic vision of offering the power of choice to Indian consumers,” said V Subramaniam, Director of Reliance Retail, in a statement. “With more Indians willing to transact digitally, this initiative will help us provide yet another efficient and secure alternative payment method to customers at our stores.”
The race to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency comes off as one of the most important talking points for central banks around the world. With more than 110 Central Banks confirmed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be in active research over the digital versions of their National Currencies.
India’s dive into this space came recently as other top Asian countries including China, Thailand, and Hong Kong advance their own research into the new payment model.
Reliance Retail to Bolster the RBI’s CBDC Efforts
Reliance Retail has a total number of active customers that topped 193 million people spread across the country. With its reach and diversity, the company can be a very important partner to help the RBI push its CBDC agenda.
In other countries like China that launched retail trials for their own CBDC testing, the role of top retail firms has never been underestimated. In the case of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), efforts by Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (HKG: 9988) to China’s Uber DiDi Global Inc (OTCMKTS: DIDIY), the bank received as much support as it could get with its retail testing agenda.
While the majority of Indian financial firms have had bottlenecks in fostering crypto transactions, the Digital Rupee (e₹) is billed to serve as a game changer.
“e₹ is a game-changer in the digital revolution unleashed in the country,” said Deepak Sharma, President and Chief Digital Officer at Kotak Mahindra Bank, in a statement. “All customers having e₹-R wallets will now be able to enjoy an effortless, safe, and instant way of digital transactions at Reliance Retail stores.”
The RBI is yet to announce when the Digital Rupee will be launched for general use if at it will.