China’s central launches wallet app for digital yuan

abdelaziz Fathi

People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has rolled out a pilot version of a mobile app that allows users to open a digital yuan wallet and pay with the currency, also known as e-CNY.

Trade Chinese Yuan on the London Stock Exchange

The app, which essentially involves physical cash converted into a digital form, is available on China’s Android app stores and Apple’s app store. The distribution of e-CNY takes place through a two-tier system that transfers the digital currency from the China’s central bank to commercial banks, which are then distribute the currency directly to consumers.

35 Chinese commercial banks now allow customers to access the country’s new central bank digital currency (CBDC), suggesting yet another step toward a wider rollout.

In addition to the six state-owned banks, the financial institutions that support withdrawals and deposits in the digital yuan include prominent names such as CITIC, China Everbright, China Merchants Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Minsheng, Ping An, Guangfa and Zheshang, amongst others.

Thousands of Chinese citizens have been chosen by a lottery system, allowing them to spend their national cryptocurrency – otherwise known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) – in both offline and online stores using a dedicated app.

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China continues to quietly test e-CNY

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was the country’s first bank to add full support for the digital renminbi. The state-owned lender has enabled a feature that allows clients to convert their digital yuan to cash at more than 3,000 ATMs across Beijing.

The new pilot comes barely a few months after the official launch of the “one point access,” a two-tiered clearing system floated by two major Chinese banks this month. These are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), which currently allow users to activate their digital yuan wallets in Shanghai and Beijing.

A person familiar with the matter said that as long as the relevant conditions are met, more commercial banks will participate in the digital RMB test.

China continues to quietly test a pilot version of its national digital currency as well as setting up a legal framework for CBDCs with global financial regulators.

The digital yuan, which is controlled and issued by the China government, is a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Yet, the People’s Bank of China officially has not assigned a monetary value right now because the digital yuan has not been launched to the public yet.

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