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Digital Rupee: Mauritius to launch pilot project in November 2023

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Digital Rupee: Mauritius to launch pilot project in November 2023

Mauritius plans to launch the pilot phase of a digital rupee later this year, Bank of Mauritius Governor Harvesh Seegolam has announced. The project for the prospective central bank digital currency (CBDC) has reportedly reached a “very advanced stage” and should be “a reality” by November. 

Speaking at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Community of Central Bank Technologists meeting held on the island, Seegolam said he prioritised CBDC development when he took office in 2020.

Consultations with International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts began the same year and resulted in the production of a feasibility report. According to Seegolam, Mauritius was the first country to benefit from IMF technical assistance with its CBDC project.

The Bank of Mauritius set up a sandbox with an unnamed partner in December to explore potential features and “craft the Digital rupee based on the Mauritian specificities.”

Next month, he said, the BoM will launch a document for public consultations to finalise the design of the digital rupee.

The digital rupee should be “a payment instrument to be made available to one and all” that will be intermediated to “ensure that commercial banks continue to be fully-involved in our CBDC journey.” It will also make monetary policy easier to manage and support financial stability, Seegolam said. The digital rupee will be interest free.

Seegolam said the Bank of Mauritius “is contemplating” launching a digital rupee pilot phase in November. Phase two of the project will be the development of its use in cross-border transactions, he added.

Mauritius has been gradually adopting blockchain technology for several years. The country regulated digital asset custody licensing and security token offerings in 2019. It was at one time seen as an emerging hub for the technology.

Sanctions

On another matter, the Governor also announced that a group of commercial banks, sanctioned by the Central Bank for engaging in “unhealthy speculation in the foreign exchange market,” have already paid their fines.

“In terms of the conduct of banks, we see the sanctions have borne their fruits. I see that the foreign currency market is working in a more orderly manner,” he said.

Source: Coin Telegraph, Defi Media

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