Yesterday the People’s Bank of China shared the latest digital yuan figures, but chose not to mention the number of wallets that have been opened. In January, it announced there were 261 million personal wallets by the end of 2021, representing almost 19% of the population. Yesterday’s CBDC announcement did not mention wallet figures but stated there had been 264 million cumulative tranactions as of May 31, worth 83 billion yuan.
Conceivably there were issues with the December numbers, as cumulative transactions to the end of last year were a higher figure at RMB 87.6 billion. Given both figures are cumulative, that doesn’t make sense unless the latest figures are only for the current year. But that was not made clear (see later). The statistics are even more curious given the use of the digital yuan at the Beijing Olympics, which was held this February. We’ve included the statement below.
In other news, whitelist restrictions have been removed in four regions – Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New District and Chengdu. We interpret that as anyone that registers can use the digital currency, as would be the case in a production deployment. Zou Lan, Director of the Monetary Policy Department of the People’s Bank of China, said that the pilot areas have expanded from 11 to 23 regions in 15 provinces and cities.
These are the Google translated statements from Zou Lan on both occasions:
“As of December 31, 2021, the number of digital RMB pilot scenarios has exceeded 8.0851 million, a total of 261 million personal wallets have been opened, and the transaction amount has reached 87.565 billion yuan. The pilot has effectively verified the digital RMB business technology design and system stability, and product ease of use.”
And yesterday’s statement: “As of May 31 this year, the cumulative number of digital renminbi transactions in the pilot areas of 15 provinces and cities was about 264 million, with an amount of about 83 billion yuan, and the number of merchant stores supporting digital renminbi payment reached 4.567 million.”