As we reported two weeks ago, it’s now been officially confirmed there is to be a second digital yuan public lottery next week in Suzhou. China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial will give away 200 yuan ($30) to 100,000 people. This follows the initial October trial in Shenzhen, which involved 50,000 people.
Applications are open this Saturday and Sunday, with the cash giveaway targeting Double 12 day, also called Couples Day and the third biggest shopping holiday in China on December 12th. But shoppers have until December 27th to spend the money.
Lottery winners can use the money online at JD.com and other stores or at roughly 10,000 designated bricks and mortar stores, including supermarkets, malls and restaurants.
However, this latest trial’s key feature is to test how the wallet works offline, which involves holding phones close together or scanning NFC QR codes. Only 1,000 participants will be selected for the offline wallet tests from those who volunteer for that trial aspect. Previous reports were that retail outlets in the Xiangcheng District of Suzhou had installed NFC QR codes.
Six banks are involved in the trial, including ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Bank of Communications and the Postal Saving Bank of China. However, it is possible to use the digital currency without having an account at one of the banks.
Originally the currency trials were planned for four districts, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan New District, Chengdu as well as the future Winter Olympics. Chengdu is also apparently proceeding with a trial on an invitation-only basis.
Three weeks ago, we reported that average transaction sizes in digital renminbi trials have almost trebled from 352 yuan ($52.55) to 1030 yuan ($153.77) between August and October, and we wondered whether this reflected more business usage. In the meantime Beijing is preparing to trial the digital currency for trade.