For cryptocurrencies, the year 2021 will be remembered as a watershed moment. Bitcoin surpassed $65,000 as an all-time high within a few months, while the whole crypto market capitalization surpassed $2 trillion. Apart from enormous corporate buy-in, the biggest news for crypto came from El Salvador, which is the first of several countries to recognize bitcoin as a legal tender.
Central banks around the world are exploring digital currencies that can be issued by them, owing to the soaring popularity of cryptocurrency, as evidenced by the rapidly growing user base on crypto trading platforms like CoinSwitch Kuber and the COVID-19 pandemic driving the use of digital payments.
What is Digital Currency?
Simply put, cryptocurrencies are a digital version of traditional fiat currency. A CBDC, by the way, works in the same way as digital wallets do now. Banks will issue a fixed number of digital currencies that can only be spent electronically under the new digital currency system, rather than printing comparable cash. It will reduce the cost of producing, storing, and distributing banknotes, in addition to the environmental benefits it provides.
A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a virtual currency based on blockchain issued by a central bank. We can only conjecture on the design and functionality of CBDCs because none have yet been released. Nonetheless, a few official sources can assist us in nailing down the specifics and giving us a better idea of what a CBDC should look like.
We can deduce that CBDCs are private digital currencies designed for the aim of transferring value via digital transactions based on data from the European Central Bank’s study on the digital euro and news reports about China’s digital yuan. A more significant application of CBCDs is in the sphere of digital payments and is precisely what financial institutions aim to target.
A CBDC has no investment value, and some central banks (such as the ECB) will go so far as to penalize hoarding or investing activity. As a result, we can conclude that digital currencies are solely intended for commercial online payments.
Another important aspect to consider is the type of blockchain network that CBDCs employ. Because central banks, for moral or immoral reasons, prefer not to publish transactions and other financial data on the blockchain publicly, a CBDC will be created on a private blockchain network.
Then again, known as a permissioned blockchain network, this kind of record is totally unique in relation to its decentralized, more seasoned sibling. Organization members should have the advantage to notice and direct exercises in the blockchain, which is appointed by a focal power: for this situation, the central bank.
In such a framework, banks and other monetary establishments that have joined forces with the national bank would work with exchanges for their individual customers by facilitating hubs. Other than them, no other person would play a comparative part or have admission rights to the permissioned blockchain.
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Difference Between CBDC and Cryptocurrencies
CBDCs should not be mistaken for digital forms of money, like Bitcoin, which are computerized tokens issued by a network of computers operating on an open-source system. All the computers collectively mine cryptocurrencies every day and function endlessly to execute transactions.
Although cryptocurrencies are decentralized, CBDCs will be issued by monetary institutions worldwide, permitting national banks to know who holds what. While cryptocurrencies are made utilizing blockchain, for the most part, CBDCs would probably run on various innovative stages (albeit the utilization of blockchain isn’t off-limits).
CBDCs are additionally not stablecoins, a type of cryptographic money fixed to another resource. A well-known model is Tether, which is fixed to the US dollar and is coordinated and upheld by dollar reserves. A CBDC adaptation of a dollar would be as old as a dollar note while offering stability to the entire ecosystem.
Is it Illegal to Use Cryptocurrency in India?
Currently, bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are not regulated by the Indian government. We can’t label them illegal because no central authority in the country has given them permission to be used. Cryptocurrency is not subject to any norms, guidelines, or restrictions. Because disputes originating from these exchanges will not be legally bound, Bitcoin and altcoin transactions are riskier.
India has yet to take a position on cryptocurrencies. In March, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that cryptocurrency would not be banned entirely in the country. On the other hand, the Center intends to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, which will include regulations defining the state of crypto tokens in India.
When Will India Launch Its Digital Currency?
The Reserve bank of India (RBI) has been preparing for the staged presentation of a central bank digital currency(CBDC), which it intends to carry out before the current year’s conclusion.
Indeed, even before the ascent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, numerous financial authorities have been grappling with the possibility of a regulated digital currency that offers stability. The dispatch of the CBDC would stamp a noteworthy first for India as it would be the pioneer of digital currency powered by a regulatory institution worldwide.
The focal point of a national bank like the RBI is to help the country’s financial frameworks instead of going about like a conventional bank. It is an administering body regulating the monetary policy of the country. In that sense, the CBDC would uphold the financial framework and govern the digital currency’s fundamentals in the country.
In a meeting with CNBC, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the Reserve Bank of India may dispatch its first digital currency trail programs by December. It will show that this is only the first of different sorts of digital currency standards that may hit the market not too far off.
India’s stand on cryptocurrencies has always been in the shade. But if we look at recent developments, we can have a sigh of relief since India is all set to launch its digital currency. We can see this as the start of a new digital era in India that will create a global upheaval.