India’s Central Bank Seeking Privacy Legislation for Retail CBDC Users

The RBI is seeking a provision that would allow customers to delete transactions to maintain anonymity if they so choose to.

AccessTimeIconMar 21, 2023 at 1:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 21, 2023 at 9:28 p.m. UTC

India's central bank is advocating for legislation that will allow users of its retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) to delete any transactions from the network's ledger in order to maintain anonymity, a highly placed person told CoinDesk.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently running both retail and wholesale CBDC pilots. The retail CBDC is currently active in at least 15 cities.

"The latest numbers show that more than 100,000 customers and 13 banks are participating in the pilot now," the person said.

India's finance ministry may have to bring legislation to the parliament for the RBI to have the legal backing to institute the "delete" option into its CBDC.

"We are working on how to ensure privacy is maintained in our CBDC," the person said. "We are asking the government to provide a legal backing in the form of legislation that will allow customers to delete transactions to maintain anonymity if they so choose to."

Lawmakers and individuals across the world have been concerned about the potential surveillance aspects of CBDCs. In the U.S., numerous lawmakers have introduced or proposed bills that would ban CBDCs outright, citing these privacy concerns.

Asked if this may be the first such effort from any nation to solve the problem around CBDC privacy, the person said "yes."

Recently, India announced a collaboration with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to jointly conduct pilot programs on CBDCs and is exploring more such bilateral ties.


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Amitoj Singh is CoinDesk's regulatory reporter covering India. He holds BTC and ETH below CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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