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More Than 1 Billion Yuan Spent on Digital Yuan Pilot Transactions, PBoC Says

The digital yuan has been heavily promoted in the past several months, but few of the major organizations and entities have disclosed any significant data on how their pilot programs were progressing. With multiple regional and city governments across China spending a huge amount of time and resources on these pilots, the public both in the country and abroad has been anticipating concrete results for quite a while.

Earlier this week, the first official information about the DCEP pilot programs were released. Fan YiFei, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said that during the past year, 3.13 million transactions were processed using the digital yuan. Speaking at the Sibos banking and financial conference on Monday, Fen revealed that the pilot programs across China made “positive progress,” adding that more than 6,700 use cases were implemented as of late August this year. These use cases range from things bill payments and transports, all the way to government services, the South China Morning Post reported.

The scope of these pilot programs shows China’s dedication to launching the digital yuan as soon as possible. “The People’s Bank of China,” Fan said during the conference, “sees the digital yuan as important financial infrastructure for the future.”

A future where digital yuan is the primary means of payment requires more modern payment methods. During the conference, Fan explained that the currency is being used across various payment methods, which include paying through bar codes, facial recognition, and tap-and-go transactions. It was also revealed that more than 113,300 personal digital wallets and around 8,800 personal wallets have been created as part of the DCEP pilot programs across China.

However, the total number of personal wallets might be a little lower than the reported 113,300, as Fan revealed that the digital yuan was used to reward around 5,000 medical and health care workers involved in the treatment of COVID-19. The digital yuan was used to create the so-called “red packets”—financial incentives that the recipients were able to spend at designated merchants in Luohu, a district in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

The information revealed during the Sibos banking and financial conference gave the public much-needed insight into how the upcoming DCEP might function. With Fen reveling that the digital yuan has already been used for more than 1.1 billion yuan worth of transactions, the statistics show that each digital wallet involved in the testing process spent around 350 yuan, or $52, on average per transaction. If the real-life use of PBoC’s upcoming currency mimics the results we’ve seen in the tests, we could expect the currency to be used for small and microtransactions. And while this might not lead to a huge transaction volume in the first few months of DCEPs launch, we could see an unprecedented throughput in terms of the number of processed transactions.

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