As of December 31, 2021, there had been more than 8.0851 million eCNY (China’s Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC) pilot scenarios, reaching 261 million personal digital wallets and a total transaction of 87.565 billion yuan (US$13.78 billion), according to Zou Lan, director of the financial market department of the People’s Bank of China at a conference on 18 January 2022.
He also said that in the next step, the People’s Bank of China will continue to steadily promote the pilot research and development of eCNY in accordance with the deployment of the national 14th five-year plan, further deepening the pilot use of digital RMB in retail transactions, lifestyle payment, government services, and other scenarios.
The weekly active users in the first week of 2022 increased to 15.9 million from 1.6 million a week earlier, according to data from QuestMobile.
eCNY is the legal digital currency issued by People’s Bank of China, which is mainly used for cash in circulation. It is operated by designated operating institutions and exchanged to the public.
The currency is paid in electronic form, and the value is the same as that of RMB banknotes and coins. Digital RMB is currently issued by the people’s Bank of China on a small-scale pilot basis and is in the internal closed pilot test stage. There is no timetable for its formal launch.
At present, eCNY is only piloted in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, Dalian, and Winter Olympic Games scenes (Beijing and Zhangjiakou); and, other regions cannot register temporarily.
China’s eCNY adopts dual offline technology. As long as DC/EP digital wallet is installed on the mobile phones of both parties, eCNY can be used to complete transfer even without network and bank account.
According to the data of several mainstream mobile app stores such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, the total download of eCNY app has exceeded 20 million times, nearly doubling that of 10 days ago.
During the Winter Olympics, consumers can choose eCNY app or hardware wallet based on their own habits and preferences. The eCNY app can not only read the devices loaded with the eCNY hardware wallets, but also set the payment password, top up, balance and transaction details query, cash out, etc.
The number of eCNY App has already onboarded 49 merchants, including shopping, travel, lifestyle, tourism, and other major categories, including Jingdong, Meituan, Ele.me, Tmall Supermarket, Didi, iQiyi, Tencent Video, Baidu and other Internet businesses, as well as SF Express, Online State Grid (for electricity payment), Sinopec, China Telecom, etc.