India’s central bank has reportedly formed a new unit within the organization to tackle research and regulatory frameworks for new technologies including blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence.

According to a report from the Economic Times on Monday citing sources familiar with the matter, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the new unit about a month old in a move aimed to “research and possibly draft rules” to supervise these emerging tech.

“As a regulator, the RBI also has to explore new emerging areas to check what can be adopted and what cannot. … This new unit is on an experimental basis and will evolve as time passes,” one of the sources was quoted as saying.

While the RBI has not announced the unit officially, the news followed the central bank’s report which detailed its blockchain-related trials and hinted at a move for creating blockchain regulatory frameworks.

CoinDesk reported last year that the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), founded in the 1990s by the RBI, was planning to roll out its blockchain platform.

Based on a fintech report published by the RBI in February, the IDRBT already tested a proof-of-concept that settled trade finance transactions via a distributed network with participants including banks and payments vendors.

Further, the report indicated at the time that the central bank was also planning to put such technological developments in a regulated environment, stating:

“In order to ensure that regulations keep pace with the developments in technology impacting the payment space, the global developments in technology such as distributed ledgers, blockchain, etc. will be monitored, and regulatory framework, as required, will be put in place.”

The news also comes at a time when the RBI is toughening its stance on cryptocurrency trading, having banned domestic banks from providing financial services to Indian cryptocurrency exchanges.

Indian banknote image via Shutterstock

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