Reliance Retail, India's largest retail chain, has extended support for the country's Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), also known as the Digital Rupee. The company stated (1) that it had worked with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and fintech startup Innoviti Technologies to deliver in-store support for the digital rupee.
After the announcement by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the previous year, the Indian CBDC is still in the trial phases of its implementation. The pilot program is only open to retail customers and is restricted to institutions and business owners as participants.
Users who wish to make a payment using the Digital Rupee will be provided with a QR code that they may use to finish their transaction if Reliance Retail is participating in the experiment.
The CBDC has been embraced by Reliance Retail, initially at its gourmet retail line Freshpik. The company wants to gradually roll out the feature throughout the rest of its locations soon.
V Subramaniam, Director of Reliance Retail, said in a statement that "this landmark approach of pioneering the digital currency support at our retail locations is in line with the firm's operations vision of providing the flexibility of choice to Indian consumers.
Because of this effort, we will be able to give yet another alternative payment option that is both convenient and safe for consumers shopping at our locations, catering to the growing number of Indians who are open to conducting business through digital platforms.
The competition to be the first to create a virtual money supported by a central bank is one of the most significant discussion points for the banking system all around the world.
With over 110 Central Banks, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), actively researching the digital versions of their National Currencies, it is clear that this is a growing trend.
Recent developments have seen other leading Asian nations, like China, Thailand, and Hong Kong, progress their studies into the new payment paradigm, prompting India to enter this sector.
Move Will Boost CBDC Adoption
The number of active shoppers who shop at Reliance Retail has surpassed 193 million individuals, and these consumers are located in every region of the country. Because of its scope and variety, the firm has the potential to be a highly key partner in the effort to assist the RBI in advancing its CBDC agenda.
In other nations, such as China, which have begun conducting retail trials for their CBDC testing, the importance of leading retail companies has consistently been recognized. When it came to the People's Bank of China (PBoC), efforts made by Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and China's Uber DiDi Global Inc ensured that the bank received as much support as it possibly could for its retail testing program.
Most Indian financial institutions have encountered roadblocks regarding promoting crypto currency transactions. Still, the Digital Rupee (e) is expected to be a game changer.
Deepak Sharma, President & Chief Digital Officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, was quoted in a release as saying that "e" is a game-changer in the technological age that has been unleashed in the country.
"Now, in Reliance Retail outlets, all customers who own e-R wallets will be able to take advantage of a method of digital transactions that is not only straightforward but also secure and instant."
The Reserve Bank of India has yet to reveal whether or not it intends to make the digital version of the rupee available for widespread usage.