The Central Bank of China has stated that individual state-owned banks carry out internal digital currency experiments in four cities and potential use at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Screenshots of a suspected pilot version of a Chinese digital currency wallet program were circulated on social media. The mobile app, which has been internally tested by the State Agricultural Bank of China, demonstrates the latest digital monetary features that allow people to make payments using a QR code and by merely hitting another phone to send and receive funds.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) acknowledged that the experiments were underway but said that this did not mean the official launch of the digital currency. The central bank did not have an official currency roll-out schedule.
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Internal digital yuan tests do not affect banks’ commercial activity nor affect the issuance and circulation system, financial market, and social economy of renminbi outside the test set, the Central Bank said.
Since 2014, the PBOC has researched the creation of the state digital currency. After China’s State Council included blockchain technology in its 13th 2016 Five Year Plan, the Central Bank has developed a Digital Currency / Electronic Payment (DC / EP) research institute.
The technological progress is continuously continuing, and the digital currency has completed its state-of-the-art architecture, standard formulation, practical development and harmonization, and testing. Today, in Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, and Shenzhen, and the Winter Olympics 2022, the Central Bank performs closed network trials to optimize and improve the efficiency of the currency.
The four state-owned banks – China Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC), China Construction Bank, China Agricultural Bank, and China Bank – are all active in the production of digital currency, with the three telecom firms, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom. Caixin also heard that the Bank of China expects to perform internal currency tests early.
In June 2018, Shenzhen Fintech Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary, was founded by the Digital Currency Research Institute of the PBOC. With the business scope of ‘fintech-related technical growth, and fintech-related systems development and maintenance,’ Shenzhen formed a joint venture with its legal representative Di Gang, Senior Director of the PBOC’s Research Institute in Suzhou (March). The two organizations are hiring technology talent vigorously, an indication that the DC / EP plan is progressing.