Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc announced on Saturday that it will be the first platform in the country to accept China’s digital currency.
The Central Bank of China will hold its second digital yuan lottery among citizens of Suzhou, near Shanghai on Friday. The total amount of playable digital yuan is 20 million ($ 3.06 million) and will be distributed over 100,000 so-called “red packages”, each containing 200 yuan ($ 30), which can be exchanged for goods until December 27 in certain physical stores in Suzhou through the Digital Yuan app, as well as on the online platform JD.com.
Those wishing to participate on Saturday / Sunday had to register in the official city application of Suzhoudao. Then they had to create a personal digital wallet in one of the six participating banks – Bank of China, Construction Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Communications Bank and Postal Savings Bank of China.
The current lottery in Suzhou will be the first in which consumers will test their shopping experience using digital yuan online. Earlier in October, a similar lottery was held for tens of thousands of Shenzhen citizens totaling 10 million yuan ($ 1.53 million) so they could shop at local stores. According to Xinhua, nearly 900,000 yuan was spent on more than 60,000 transactions.
According to the governor of the People’s Bank (Central Bank) of China and Ghana, taking into account other urban testing from April to early November this year, more than four million transactions totaling about $ 2 billion were made using the digital yuan.
According to a statement from the People’s Bank of China, in the near future they plan to expand the use of digital currency and testing in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, as well as in less affluent cities such as Lanzhou, Urumqi and Lhasa (launch schedule is not yet known).
“We are committed to steadily advancing digital currency research and development, systematically conducting controlled pilot projects, and improving the legal framework for digital currencies,” Central Bank Governor I Gann wrote in a recent article.
China’s digital yuan is one of the world’s most advanced “central bank digital currency” (CBDC) initiatives, as governments around the world respond to threats from private currencies such as bitcoin and Libra Facebook.
Bitcoin, which has recently reached record highs, is decentralized, meaning that it is not controlled or issued by a single organization or bank.
The BIS, a group of central banks, said earlier this year that 80% of the world’s central banks “have already begun to conceptualize and explore the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).”
The efforts of The Bank of China to introduce its own currency suggest that it seeks to control the country’s cash flows and potentially international transfers, as well as to prevent the excessive influence of foreign private cryptocurrencies.
The development of the digital yuan began in 2014, when the online payment services Alipay from Ant Group and WeChat Pay from Tencent were the main payment methods in China. The project is seen as a step to limit the impact of the financial services of technology giants in the country’s traditional financial system.
Last month, China’s largest private financial company, Ant Group, failed in its initial public offering plans in Hong Kong and Shanghai due to its termination by Chinese regulators. IPO Ant Group was to become the largest in history.
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