Davos 2024: RBI Governor foresees enhanced cross-border payments with digital currency, unveils CBDC progress

Davos 2024: Das expressed optimism regarding the efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness that CBDC adoption could bring to international transactions.

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Courtesy: ANI

Davos 2024: Shaktikanta Das, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), delivered insights at the World Economic Forum in Davos, emphasizing the transformative impact of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on cross-border payments. Das expressed optimism regarding the efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness that CBDC adoption could bring to international transactions.

Digital Currency Pilots Lay the Groundwork

The journey towards digital currency adoption in India commenced with pilot launches in both wholesale and retail categories in November-December 2022. Governor Das revealed that CBDC's international cross-border payment capabilities are poised to revolutionize the existing systems.

"The greatest advantage of CBDC will be cross-border payments internationally. International cross-border payments will become far more efficient, faster, and very, very cost-effective," commented Das, foreseeing CBDC as the future of money.

Countrywide Launch Depends on Pilot Success

While the pilot phase has seen a countrywide launch, Governor Das underscored that the full-scale implementation would hinge on the success, learnings, and fine-tuning derived from the pilot version. He emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety, integrity, and efficiency of the digital currency before a widespread rollout.

"We have no target date...We are not in any undue hurry or rush to implement it full scale because after it is a currency, its safety, integrity, and efficiency have to be ensured," stated Das.

Interoperability Achieved with UPI

Das shared updates on the digital landscape, highlighting the interoperability between the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and CBDC. He revealed that the QR code used for the E-rupee (CBDC) is the same as that used in UPI, making the two payment systems seamlessly interoperable.

"The advantage of CBDC vis-a-vis the UPI is that it's not one versus the other. UPI is a payment system, and CBDC is a currency," explained Das. He elaborated on CBDC's capability to operate in areas without internet access, enabling offline payments directly from CBDC wallets.

E-rupee Characteristics and Distribution

The E-rupee (eRs-R) is structured as a digital token representing legal tender and mirrors the denominations of paper currency and coins. Distributed through financial intermediaries like banks, the eRs-R offers features akin to physical cash, including trust, safety, and settlement finality. Unlike interest-bearing instruments, the eRs-R doesn't accrue interest and retains convertibility into other forms of money, such as bank deposits.