(Yicai Global) Jan. 15 -- Shenzhen, the city that hosted the first-ever try-out of China’s sovereign cryptocurrency last October, was the venue for an enlarged test last week.
The southern economic powerhouse carried out a second round of digital yuan testing on Jan. 7, the China Securities Journal reported today. This time the amount of e-money and number of participants was doubled, more banks took part and the range of scenarios was expanded.
CNY20 million (USD3.1 million) of virtual yuan was circulated in the form of digital red envelopes -- ‘Hongbao’ are traditionally used in China when gifting cash -- and 100,000 people took part.
“Unlike other payment methods, there are no service charges for trading in digital yuan,” a beverage shop owner at the Ping An International Finance Center said. “This can help reduce costs for businesses.”
Customers can pay using e-money and stores can then transfer the digital yuan to their e-wallets or bank accounts, the shop owner added.
This time the crypto was also used in more application scenarios. Shopping malls, gas and subway stations, convenience stores and restaurants in the Shenzhen districts of Futian, Luohu, and Nanshan prominently displayed digital yuan payment signs.
Digital Yuan Wallets
The local branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is now offering digital yuan wallets to individual customers. Applicants can scan a QR code to register their details and then scan it again two days later to download the app and open a wallet.
Agricultural Bank of China is also offering a digital yuan wallet. “Please do me a favor and choose to open your e-wallet with ABC,” a member of staff posted on social messaging app WeChat. “You do not need to be an account holder at ABC to do so.”
ABC now allows e-yuan to be deposited and withdrawn at ATMs, said Zou Hua, who manages ABC Digital Yuan Innovation Lab. It has also started to enable payments via face scans and will roll out the function nationwide, he added.
Bank of Communications and Postal Savings Bank of China joined in this round, following ICBC, ABC, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, which took part in the first trials, the report said.
To help the People’s Bank of China gather data, some banks have invited their clients onto a so-called White List to test the cryptocurrency, the report said, citing a banking sector insider. Some lenders have also begun to offer a ‘wallet for internal experience’ function on their mobile phone apps.
Editor: Kim Taylor