Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man from India, said on Monday that his Reliance Industries Ltd. is exploring blockchain-based platforms and central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

See related article: The Digital Rupee

Fast facts

  • “JFS (Jio Financial Services) will consolidate its payment infrastructure, with a ubiquitous offering for both consumers and merchants further driving digital adoption for India,” Ambani said on Monday at Reliance Industries’ annual shareholders’ meeting, the biggest annual event of India’s largest private-sector company. 
  • “JFS products will not just compete with current industry benchmarks but also explore pathbreaking features such as blockchain-based platforms and CBDC,” he said.
  • Ambani’s Reliance entered the digital financial products space with the incorporation of Jio Financial Services Limited (JFS) on July 25, a non-banking financial company registered with the Reserve Bank of India, the nation’s central bank. 
  • On July 26, JFS announced an agreement to form Jio BlackRock, a 50:50 joint venture with BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, as a partner. JFS and BlackRock said they are targeting an initial investment of US$150 million each in the joint venture.
  • In February, Reliance Retail, the retail branch of Fortune Global 500 firm Reliance Industries, said that it has started accepting digital rupee payments to become the largest Indian firm to adopt the nation’s CBDC. Reliance Retail had partnered with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and fintech firm Innoviti Technologies to launch in-store digital rupee payments.
  • India’s central bank rolled out retail CBDC pilot trials in 13 cities last December, after introducing its wholesale CBDC pilot last November. 
  • The share price of Jio Financial Services closed 0.28% lower on Monday on India’s Bombay Stock Exchange, while that of Reliance Industries dropped 1.11%. India’s benchmark stock index Sensex rose 0.17%.

See related article: India’s PM advocates global ethical framework for cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence