The Reserve Bank of India to Manage a Smart Payments Hackathon

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has declared its first worldwide hackathon to develop India’s fledgling digital payment systems.

RBI’s ‘HARBINGER 2021’ has welcomed members to develop innovative solutions to make digital payments available to India’s underprivileged. Upgrading the ease of payments further improves user experience and reinforces the security of digital payments.

Registration and submission of proposals begin on November 15 and ends on December 15. 

The RBI communique has said the hackathon will give members a chance to get mentored by industry experts. While the winners will bring home ₹ 40 lakh, the runner-ups will get ₹ 20 lakh.

Digital Push In India

The Narendra Modi-driven government has been a votary of digital payments. The demonetization drive and the Covid initiated lockdown, numerous observers argue, have given stimulus to digital payments in India.

While cash keeps on being the prevailing type of transaction with the new RBI information, it is showing that the notes in circulation in value terms have expanded by 64% since demonetization. Digital payments, too, have seen a surge in recent years.

For example, The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) leader platform UPI recently said it had crossed the $100 billion imprint. In October, UPI had recorded 4.2 billion transactions, adding up to around $103 billion. For some specific situations, UPI took three years – 2016 to 2019 – to arrive at 1 billion transactions yet under two years to cross the 4 billion mark.

Examples Of Global ‘Hackathons’ By Banking Institutions

Hackathons, a portmanteau of hack and marathon, have grown in popularity in the past decade. A hackathon is an event where individuals or teams come together to solve an existing challenge in a technology-related area.  

Last year, the Central Bank of Kenya had organized a virtual worldwide ‘hackathon’ to use the capability of fintech in handling COVID-19’s impact on healthcare, digital payments and economic recovery.

Recently, the Fintech division of the Bank for International Settlements and SWIFT, a leading financial messaging service, organized a hackathon to check out innovations in cross-border payments.

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