Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das said he expects the e-rupee Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot to achieve 1 million retail users by the end of this month.

The news comes after early indications suggested the e-ruppe had failed to gain traction last year.

The e-rupee pilot program consists of two components: a wholesale or interbank element, which was launched on Nov. 1, 2022, and a retail component that went live on Dec. 1, 2022. Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary explained both pilots would be gradually expanded to include more banks, users, and locations per the feedback received.

Recently, Das spoke confidently about the pilot’s progression, saying, “CBDC is going to be the future of money.” Commenting on the interbank element, he mentioned that expansion plans include the development of a central bank network to facilitate cross-border payments.

“But cross-border payments will also become much quicker, more seamless and very cost-effective. That is another area where a lot of attention needs to be given. We are constantly in dialogue with other central banks that have introduced or are introducing CBDCs.”

Earlier this month, JP Morgan announced the rollout of a blockchain-based interbank dollar settlement system. The pilot program was launched in partnership with six of India’s biggest banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank, and JP Morgan’s local unit.

Previously, Das had called for a ban on cryptocurrencies, championing CBDC adoption in its place. The RBI governor said cryptocurrencies pose “huge inherent risks” to the country’s financial stability.

Additionally, Das criticized crypto trading as a speculative activity, dismissing market regulation due to his belief that the uncontrolled growth of cryptocurrencies could trigger the next financial crisis.

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