India’s CBDC Trials: Offline Capability and Programmability Explored
India is progressing with the next phase of its digital rupee pilot program, enhancing its capabilities with programmability and offline payment functionality.
Since early last year, India has been conducting trials of a retail CBDC, facilitating transactions between individuals and businesses, recently achieving a milestone of one million transactions per day.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is now poised to introduce programmability, allowing transactions for specific purposes. During a press conference, RBI officials provided an example of a business setting parameters for expenditure, such as for employee travel expenses.
When questioned about the impact on fungibility, Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar illustrated with another scenario: a school provides funds to a student for purchasing books from a designated store, temporarily restricting the fungibility of the money until it is redeemed.
Additionally, the RBI plans to test offline functionality, addressing concerns about usability in regions with limited internet access. Various pilot programs will explore different solutions, particularly in remote areas like mountainous regions.