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China’s central bank launches test versions of digital yuan wallet

As a part of the People’s Bank of China plans to release its own digital currency, its digital currency research institute has developed and launched a test version of the digital yuan wallet app on January 4. The said mobile application called the e-CNY (Pilot Version) can now be downloaded via the iOS and Android app stores.

A local news source from China called BlockBeats stated that the earlier version of the wallet app can now be downloaded by Chinese users for digital yuan transactions and wallet management.

‘The e-CNY app is now available on iOS and Android app stores. This App is the official service platform of China’s CBDC for individual users to carry out pilot trials, providing e-CNY personal wallet opening and management, e-CNY exchange and circulation services’, BlockBeats announced in a tweet.

However, a report from Reuters stated that the application is still at its infancy stage and experimental phase. As of writing, it is only accessible to selected users through certain institutional channels that provide e-CNY services, including major banks. In addition, the application is exclusive and limited to Chinese cities performing yuan trials like Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xian, Qingdao and Dalian.

China remains to be the frontrunner of central bank digital currency (CBDC) development across the world, overtaking countries that are still in their early stages. On November 9, 2021, the Governor of the People’s Bank of China Yi Gang announced that the country will pursue the development of its own CBDC for enhanced usage and design, including privacy control and interoperability with payment systems.

‘The PBoC wishes to cooperate with central banks, international agencies, and cryptocurrency entities across the globe. We have already launched an mCBDC Bridge with the Bank for International Settlements, The Bank of Thailand, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’, Yi stated during a virtual session at the Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies’ 30th Anniversary Conference last November 9, 2021.

According to PBoC, the digital yuan can be utilised by foreign visitors during the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. The digital currency also aims to compete with China’s biggest mobile payment systems such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

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