Last July, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar set out a 2023 goal of reaching 1 million daily transactions for the digital rupee. At the time the central bank digital currency (CBDC) volume was just 10,000 a day. Indian news outlet Money Control reported it reached the milestone on December 27.
That’s according to an internal letter to staff by RBI Governor Das sent on December 29. Ledger Insights has not seen the letter and the central bank did not confirm the news by publication time.
Following the launch of the pilot in December 2022, 1.3 million users downloaded the digital rupee wallet by July 2023.
Using bank staff for testing should be optional?
Meanwhile, the Union Bank of India will transfer various employee benefits to staff CBDC wallets rather than employee bank accounts. It plans to start with the newspaper allowance.
According to the Economic Times, the bank wrote to employees on December 26 saying, “With an aim to promote CBDC wallet transactions, banks have been advised to encourage all staff members to transact using the digital currency and ensure 100% staff registration on digital rupee app.”
However, staff are not keen. The bank’s employee federation said management shouldn’t compel staff to use the wallet and should have consulted them first.
The newspaper also reported that several banks are offering cashback and reward points as incentives for using the digital currency.
Meanwhile, the central bank doesn’t expect the retail CBDC to be a massive hit because its hugely successful UPI already provides an efficient retail payment system. It has piggybacked off that success by sharing UPI QR codes with the digital rupee at retail points of sale. However, both the central bank and Finance ministry are very interested in using the CBDC for cross border payments.