- Authorities in Shenzhen, southern China, have handed out $1.5 million of a new digital currency as part of a trial of a cashless society.
- Last Friday authorities gave 50,000 lottery winners the equivalent of $30 each to spend digitally by October 16, the state-run China Daily reported Monday.
- The digital currency is not like a cryptocurrency, and is issued and controlled by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China.
- The PBoC said it plans to formally launch the digital payment system in late 2020, according to the BBC.
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A Chinese city has handed out 10 million yuan, or $1.5 million, in digital currency to trial what citizens would do in a cashless society.
On Friday, 50,000 people living in the Luhou district of Shenzhen were given digital “red envelopes,” each containing around 200 yuan ($30) worth of the digital currency, the state-run China Daily reported Monday.
The digital currency not a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or ethereum, but a digitized version of the country’s renminbi currency that is run by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China.
The country’s four largest state-owned banks are taking part in the Shenzhen trial, China Daily reported.
The trial requires people to download the government’s digital currency app and spend their money between October 12 and October 16 in 3,000 participating stores in the district, CNBC and China Daily reported. One of those participating stores is Walmart, CNBC reported, citing the Shenzhen government.
So far, around 113,300 such digital currency apps — or “digital currency wallets” — have been set up in various pilot programs across China, with more than 1.1 billion yuan ($163 million) of transactions carried out so far, Fan Yifei, the PBoC’s deputy governor, told China Daily.
The Shenzhen pilot scheme appears to be the country’s largest so far, according to CNBC. Shenzhen is China’s tech hub, and home to companies like Tencent and Huawei.
According to The Guardian, some 2 million people in Luhou had applied to be part of the trial before 50,000 were selected.
The PBoC said it will formally launch the digital currency late this year, the BBC reported, but is yet to confirm a date.