China Pilots Mobile Wallet for CBDC Ahead of Winter Games

January 06, 2022, 10:45 AM AEST - 7 months ago

The People’s Bank of China (PoBC) has launched iOS and Android apps for digital yuan transactions in selected cities ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics. This comes after China declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal last year.

How the App Will Work

The new app will link users’ phone numbers to payment services provided by commercial banks using China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC).

China published a whitepaper outlining the progress of the CBDC, formally called e-CNY. The document reveals that the e-CNY uses smart contracts programmability as part of one of its seven major features.

According to the above tweet from BlockBeats, individual users in China may now download a version of the app to try out “personal wallet opening and management and e-CNY exchange and circulation services”. The app is currently only available for trial in 11 locations within China: Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, Dalian, and the area where the Winter Olympics will be held.

Thus far, China has been testing the digital yuan through lotteries in some cities for limited users. The central bank hopes to expand the number of people using the digital yuan.

China also undertook CBDC tests in mid-2021 to determine the usefulness of digital currencies. Following testing, China announced it would pay the salaries of certain residents in the Xoing’an region in digital yuan.

PRC Unveils ‘FinTech Development Plan (2022-2025)’

Along with the release of its digital wallet, the PBoC has unveiled its FinTech Development Plan (2022-2025), which outlines the importance financial planners place on the digitisation of the economy. The document does not explicitly discuss blockchain technology, or cryptocurrency, though the trend has been toward exerting greater control over the trajectory of China’s digital economy to ensure government access to financial data.

Last year the Chinese government expelled the majority of bitcoin mining operations, crushing the country’s contribution to the Bitcoin network’s hashing power within the country and pushing the miners that remain further underground.

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