Since launching pilots for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) back in late 2019, China has seen 70.75 million transactions being conducted using the so-called e-CNY scheme with value totaling RMB 34.5 billion, or US$5.3 billion, new data from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s working group dedicated to the project show.
As of June 30, 2021, more than 20.87 million personal wallets and over 3.51 million corporate wallets had been created and used to conduct transactions in over 1 million scenarios ranging from utility payment, catering services and transportation, to shopping and government services, the working group says in a new report.
E-CNY is the digital version of the Chinese yuan which the government has been working on since 2017. Issued by the PBOC and operated by authorized commercial banks and non-banking institutions, it’s a substitute for cash in circulation and will coexists with physical RMB with legal tender status and account linkage capability.
The retail CBDC works through both software (e.g. mobile apps and APIs) and hardware wallets (e.g. mobile phones, wearables and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices), and is intended mainly for domestic retail payment with hopes for improved efficiencies and financial inclusion.