Reserve Bank Of Indias Game-Changer: Wholesale CBDC On The Horizon For Call Money Market

New Delhi: Reserve Bank is planning to extend wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as token for interbank borrowing or call money market, RBI sources said on Tuesday. The pilot in wholesale segment, known as the Digital Rupee -Wholesale (e-W), was launched on November 1, 2022, with use case being limited to the settlement of secondary market transactions in government securities.

“RBI is now planning to go into interbank borrowing market. The purpose of wholesale CBDC has been to try out different technologies…Experimenting on technology is relatively easier for wholesale pilot because participants are related,” RBI sources said.

The introduction of CBDC was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and necessary amendments to the relevant section of the RBI Act, 1934 was made with the passage of the Finance Bill 2022.

The RBI began the pilot project wholesale CBDC and picked up nine banks — State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, YES Bank, IDFC First Bank, and HSBC.

Besides, RBI has already rolled out a pilot in the retail version of the CBDC (e?-R), on December 1, 2022. The e?-R is in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender.

It is being issued in the same denominations as the paper currency and coins. It is being distributed through financial intermediaries, i.E., the banks. Users are able to transact with e?- R through a digital wallet offered by the participating banks.

With regard to RuPay, sources said no instructions have been given to promote this. However, sources said, this has to be popularised by making it attractive.

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