China launches digital currency app to expand use
China has carried out tests for its digital yuan or its e-CNY. Now, the People’s Bank of China hopes to expand the use of digital currency by launching an e-CNY wallet app to more users in some cities. The photo taken on July 7, 2021 shows a digital Chinese currency logo during the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China.
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China’s central bank has launched a pilot version of a digital yuan wallet app with the aim of expanding its use to more people.
The app is available on Android app stores in China and on the Apple App Store. It allows users to open a digital yuan wallet and spend the currency.
The digital yuan or e-CNY is a digital version of China’s sovereign currency and has been in the works since 2014. It is not a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, but rather is issued and controlled by the People’s Bank of China .
So far, China has carried out a number of trials across the country in the form of lotteries where users in some cities have been given a small amount of digital currency to spend. Some retailers, such as e-commerce company JD.com, accepted it as a payment method last year.
But the digital yuan has yet to be officially rolled out nationwide and there is no timeline for it.
The new app allows users in 10 regions, including the major cities of Shanghai and Beijing, to use it. Previously, only certain users could use the application by invitation. But now anyone can download the app, highlighting how China is trying to get more people to use digital currency.
One of the places where the digital yuan can be used is the “Beijing Winter Olympics areas”, according to a notice on the app. The Winter Olympics, which take place this year in the Chinese capital, was one of the events the People’s Bank of China has targeted to bring the digital yuan.
Still, the e-CNY app will face stiff competition from the two dominant digital payment apps in China – Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat.