The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) – a bank consortium-owned umbrella organization for retail payments and settlements – is planning to use blockchain technology to boost digital transactions.
According to a report in Business Today on Sunday, the NPCI has said it plans to develop a “resilient, real time and highly scalable” blockchain solution using open-source technology. The organization has already issued an Expression of Interest (EoI), calling for entities to bid to develop a blockchain solution for the payments space.
The NPCI is a non-profit organization supported by India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association. It is promoted by 10 banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HSBC, and has 56 banks as shareholders as of 2016.
While the status of public cryptocurrencies in India is currently a gray area, the central bank has indicated it is researching how to introduce a rupee-backed central bank digital currency into its monetary policy in a bid to reduce its hefty annual bill for minting physical cash.
The nation is also enthusiastic about blockchain technology. Last year, the National Institution for Transforming India (called NITI Aayog), a government think-tank, was working on a blockchain solution aimed to combat the country’s roaring counterfeit drugs trade.
Further, India’s Union Cabinet – an executive decision-making body composed of senior government officials and led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – said it would allow the nation’s Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) to conduct research on blockchain technology in partnership with banks in the BRICS economic bloc.
Indian rupees image via Shutterstock