Bank of China’s electronic yuan, or e-CNY, is the most frequently used Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) globally as transaction volumes total 100.04 billion yuan, or almost $14 billion.
By the end of the summer, 360 million transactions had been completed in 15 provinces under the CBDC pilot program, according to the information posted on the Bank of China’s official WeChat page on October 10. The report claims that more than 5.6 million merchant outlets already accept the digital yuan as legal money.
A variety of citizen payments are covered under the pilot, which is also being expanded among various state institutions:
“Multiple e-government service platforms have opened digital renminbi payment services, supporting online and offline channels to handle various public utility payments, using digital renminbi to issue tax rebate funds, special funds for monthly medical insurance payment, funds for helping people in need, and ‘specialized, special and new’ enterprise support funds, etc.”
The financial regulator revealed its plans for the project’s advancement, including starting cross-border payments between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China, actively investigating the multilateral cross-border option in partnership with the Bank for International Settlement, and adhering to the principle of “anonymity for small amounts and traceability for large amounts” to safeguard users’ personal data.
China’s central bank has been trying to eventually replace currency with the digital yuan since the beginning of its CBDC trials in April 2020. It announced intentions to extend the deployment of the e-CNY to four of the nation’s provinces, including Guangdong, in September 2022. (earlier, the pilot ran only in separate cities).
It’s interesting to note that the Bank of China reported approximately $13 billion (87.5 billion yuan) in transactions by January 2022; the most recent update may indicate that the total value of new transactions in the previous seven months was under $1 billion.