India’s Reserve Bank of India has asked four state-run banks to test its central bank digital currency (CBDC), due for launch this financial year, even as the central bank seeks a ban on cryptocurrency trading in the country. 

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Fast facts

  • RBI has chosen the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of Baroda “to run the pilot internally,” local media reported, citing unidentified sources. 
  • Simultaneously, RBI is talking to several finance technology (fintech) companies for the digital rupee, including U.S.-based FIS (Fidelity National Information Services). 
  • FIS advises a number of central banks on issues including interest-bearing CBDC and cross-border CBDC payments, the media report said, quoting Julia Demidova, senior director at FIS.
  • FIS has already had engagements with the RBI and the association could be extended to experiment CBDC options, Demidova said in the report.  
  • The RBI is planning to introduce India’s CBDC in stages during the current fiscal year that ends in March. 
  • India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in February in a budget speech the RBI will issue a digital rupee based on blockchain technology. 

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