India’s Largest Retailer to Accept CBDC at Stores
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India’s Largest Retailer to Accept CBDC at Stores

Indian retail giant Reliance Retail started accepting CBDC payments at its Freshpik stores across the country.
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India’s biggest retailer Reliance Retail announced the support for the digital rupee in its Freshpik line of stores across the country. The move, which seeks to facilitate the adoption of CBDCs in India, was made possible in collaboration with several partners.

Customers Can Make CBDC Payments at Reliance Stores Using QR Codes

Reliance Retail announced Thursday it is now supporting India’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) at its gourmet store chain Freshpik in the country, TechCrunch reports. The move makes Reliance the largest Indian company to adopt the blockchain-based digital rupee (e₹-R) developed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Reliance Retail has teamed up with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and fintech company Innoviti Technologies to roll out the in-store support for the CBDC. Reliance Retail is the largest retailer in India, owned by multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries.

The decision, which allows shoppers to make retail payments using the digital rupee, is aimed at accelerating the adoption of CBDC in the country. Customers who prefer making payments with CBDC will be provided with a dynamic digital rupee acceptance QR code that they can scan in Reliance Retail’s stores, the company explained.

“This historic initiative of pioneering the digital currency acceptance at our stores is in line with the company’s strategic vision of offering the power of choice to Indian consumers. With more Indians willing to transact digitally, this initiative will help us provide yet another efficient and secure alternative payment method to customers at our stores.”

– said V Subramaniam, Director of Reliance Retail.

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RBI Hopes Digital Rupee Will Reduce Reliance on Cash and Protect Consumers from Crypto Volatility

Reliance’s support for the digital rupee comes just several weeks after the RBI released the CBDC pilot for retail markets across select cities. The central bank released the concept paper for CBDC in October 2022. Other countries developing CBDC pilots include Iran and Brazil, among others.

The RBI hopes the digital rupee will help reduce the country’s reliance on cash, allow for cheaper and faster international settlements, and protect Indian residents from risks related to private cryptocurrencies. Last year, the RBI asked the Indian Government to ban cryptocurrencies, citing their “destabilizing” effect on monetary stability.

Deepak Sharma, President and chief digital officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said the digital rupee is a “game-changer” that will spark a “digital revolution” in India. Based on the performance of the current CBDC pilot, the RBI may explore new features and use cases of the digital rupee.

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