Digital yuan trial sites exceed 1.32 million, transactions breach 34.5 billion yuan

Trials for the use of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) have seen rapid expansion since their launch by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in April last year.

As of 30 June 2021 there were a total of 1.32 million DCEP trial sites around China, according to data from the “China Digital Yuan Research and Development Progress White Paper” released by PBOC on 16 July.

These trial sites involve the use of the DCEP for daily expenditures, food and beverage services, transportation, retail consumption and government administrative services.

PBOC data further indicates that there are over 20.87 million individual e-CNY wallets in China, as well as over 3.51 million public wallets.

Since the offical start of trials in April 2020 there have been more than 70.75 million transactions using e-CNY wallets, for a total sum of approximately 34.5 billion yuan.

Despite the rapid growth in the scope of Digital Renminbi trials over the past year however, PBOC officials have not yet set a specific date for its official release.

“PBOC will continue to steadily advance Digital Renminbi R&D trials, and has not set a timetable in advance for its release,” said Fan Yifei, PBOC deputy-governor.

Mu Changchun, head of PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute, pointed out that the e-CNY and traditional forms of electronic payments will “co-exist over the long-term,” given that they are “situated at different vectors, and are complementary as well as disparate.”

“The DCEP is a new general form of payment provided to the public that raises the diversity of payments tools, and helps to increase the efficiency and security of the payments system,” said Mu.

“The DCEP is mainly based upon cash-type payments vouchers – M0 – and is mainly used for retail payments. Its main goal is to raise financial inclusion, and makes reference to payments technology and experiences while also forming a beneficial supplement to them.”

Financial institutions currently participating in Digital Yuan R&D trials include the big six state-owned lenders (Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, ICBC and Postal Savings Bank of China), as well as private digital lenders WeBank and MYBank.

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