The Chinese government is ramping up efforts on trials for its digital yuan project as more tests are being implemented across the country. The most recent test could prove to be the most striking reflection of how much adoption the asset is getting, with transactions on the upsurge.
Tests Going as Planned
This week, local news source Global Times reported that JD.com, a top Chinese ecommerce platform, had recorded 20,000 digital yuan transactions on its platform. The transactions are linked to a recent test in Suzhou, a city on the western side of Shanghai.
The news report explained that 80 percent of the participants born in the 1980s and 90s had used the platform to make transactions. At least one such transaction was worth over $1,500. It is an impressive feat, considering that the trial in Suzhou only began on Friday.
Per a report from local news CLS, the Suzhou trial involved several of China’s top tech firms. These include Didi Chuxing, the country’s largest ride-hailing service, bike-sharing platform Meituan, and Bilibili.
Over 10,000 residents in the city took part in the pilot, all of whom got red enveloped in a lottery-site program. It also coincided with the famous Double 12 shopping extravaganza, which occurred on Saturday. Residents could spend their winnings through point-of-sale technology at shopping centers across the city.
Miles Ahead of Everyone Else
Speaking with Global Times, Cao Yin, the Managing Director of the Digital Renaissance Foundation, a Shanghai-based blockchain advocacy organization, explained that the Peoples’ Bank of China would continue with these trials until the asset’s launch.
The Suzhou trial is only the latest in test initiatives set up by the Peoples’ Bank and local jurisdictions. In October, Sina Finance reported that the government of Luohu, a district in Shenzhen, launched a giveaway program where it sent 10 million units of the digital yuan to 50,000 residents via a lottery. For a brief period, winners would be able to spend their winnings at any brick-and-mortar store in the region.
Cao pointed out that the bank had been hiring talent from internet giants and private digital currency firms for its digital yuan. Hoping to use market-oriented means to develop the asset, it should implement more trials in the coming year.
As for a possible launch date, Cao estimates that 2023 looks to be the most feasible. The blockchain advocate explained that China leads the world in digital currency development, and that the government could be as cautious as it wants.
“China should be the first country to launch a digital currency, while countries like the US are looking to summarize China’s experience and avoid risks. In a sense, we have only ourselves to compete with on this matter, and there’s no need to rush it,” Cao explained.
The launch data is in line with estimates given by Yi Gang, the head of the People’s Bank. Speaking with reporters earlier this year, Yi explained that the government is targeting the 2022 Winter Olympics and will run several tests before then.