Several banks, including ICICI Bank and Bank of Baroda, on Tuesday participated in the first pilot project of Digital Rupee launched by the Reserve Bank for transactions in government securities. According to sources, ICICI Bank sold GS 2027 securities to IDFC First Bank using Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). In all, there were 48 deals amounting to Rs 275 crore done with the Digital Rupee, they said.
State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Kotak Mahindra Bank too participated in the project -- Digital Rupee - Wholesale segment (e₹-W). On Monday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also announced that the first pilot in Digital Rupee - Retail segment is planned for launch within a month in select locations in closed user groups comprising customers and merchants. While announcing the launch, RBI had said that settlement in central bank money would reduce transaction costs by pre-empting the need for settlement guarantee infrastructure or for collateral to mitigate settlement risk.
RBI had said that nine banks -- State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank and HSBC -- have been identified for participation in the pilot project. CBDC is a digital form of currency notes issued by a central bank. In the Union Budget tabled in Parliament in February this year, the government announced the launch of the Digital Rupee from fiscal year 2022-23. Across the globe, more than 60 central banks have expressed interest in CBDCs with a few introducing them under pilot projects across both retail and wholesale categories. Many others are researching, testing, and/or launching their own CBDC framework.