China Enter Final Stages of Digital Yuan Trials, as Other Central Banks Lag Behind

China Enter Final Stages of Digital Yuan Trials, as Other Central Banks Lag Behind

China continues to dominate the central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC) space as the People’s Bank of China ramps up its testing efforts. The bank announced recently that it ran a successful pilot program for the digital yuan in Suzhou City, where 181,000 individuals were given ¥55 ($8.5) in free digital yuan to spend at designated outlets in the Double Fifth shopping festival between May 1 and 5.

This pilot program is in line with the PBoC’s plan to target 500,000 customers in 11 Chinese regions since April. Eligible customers were asked to download an app that gave them access to a wallet containing the currency. These customers received discounts when they made purchases at participating stores.

The digital yuan is, essentially, a digital version of the Chinese Yuan used on a blockchain, just like other digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). However, the blockchain hosting the digital yuan is permissioned, which means that the PBoC controls who can access or use it.

The recent rounds of trials on the sovereign digital asset are tenfold that of the initial round that occurred in early 2020. China has also been testing the currency across borders within Hong Kong and Shenzhen and is reportedly working on a platform to give the digital asset viability in countries like Thailand, UAE, and the Bank of International Settlements.

With every new testing, China solidifies its prospect of becoming the first country to launch a sovereign digital currency on a permissioned blockchain. Although no date for a launch has been set yet, echoes around the industry see a possible launch within the next 12 months, most likely in installments.

Other Central Banks are Lagging
Meanwhile, western counterparts like the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank have been more sluggish in their effort to release a central bank digital currency. Western central banks appear to be worried about privacy concerns from transaction history being publicly accessible on the blockchain and the effects a CBDC could have on retail banks.

However, with the digital yuan nearing completion, concerns over the stability of the global financial space continue to get raised. Large economies and central banks are tasked with coming up with the perfect response to this development.

 

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Author : Azeez Mustapha

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Azeez Mustapha is an experienced author, trader, markets analyst, signals strategist, and funds-manager.