Today China’s latest central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot was announced in Chengdu. It is also the largest involving 200,000 people and a 40 million digital yuan ($6.2m) giveaway by the local government. According to Chengdu Commercial Daily, residents of Chengdu can apply for the free money via a lottery, and the digital cash can be used from March 3 to March 19.
In previous e-CNY lotteries, the amount given away per person was 200 renminbi ($31), but in this case, some people will randomly receive 178 yuan ($27) and others 238 yuan ($37).
In many other respects, the tests are substantially the same. The money can be used online at JD.com and at more than 10,000 bricks and mortar outlets, including supermarket chains, entertainment and specialty restaurants. One addition seems to be allowing the digital currency to be used at what is termed as ‘youth entrepreneurship bases’, which are a combination of startup up coworking spaces and accelerators.
The latest trial involves the six largest state-backed banks. A couple of days ago it was revealed that WeBank and MyBank, the two banks associated with Tencent and Ant (AliPay) will be joining soon.
When the pilot program concept was launched, the regions specified included Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan New Area, Chengdu, and the Winter Olympics locations (eg. Beijing). The only region without a trial is the Xiongan New Area, a new high-tech city under development.
|Shenzhen – Luohu district||October 2020||50,000||RMB 10m|
|Suzhou – Xiangcheng District||December 2020||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Shenzhen – Futian district||December 2020||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Shenzen – Longhua district||January 2021||100,000||RMB 20m|
|Suzhou City||February 2021||150,000||RMB 30m|
|Beijing – Dongcheng district||February 2021||50,000||RMB 10m|
|Chengdu||March 2021||200,000||RMB 40m|
Meanwhile, yesterday it was announced that the People’s Bank of China would be joining three other central banks for a “Multiple Central Bank Digital Currency (m-CBDC) Bridge”. The aim is to improve the speed and efficiencies of cross-border payments. The other central banks involved are Hong Kong, Thailand and the UAE.