China Construction Bank denies official operation of digital yuan

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/30 21:03:40

CCB denies official operation of digital yuan


digital currency Photo: VCG


China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the "big four" banks in China, has denied claims that a digital yuan is being officially operated in its system, after users noticed that related functions appeared on the bank's mobile app. 

New functions to "create a digital currency wallet" and "top up with digital currency" appeared on CCB's mobile app over the weekend, drawing wide speculation that this was the first time that digital yuan had been used in China. 

However, CCB said on Saturday night that the new functions are only part of a trial process on its mobile app, and they don't have any real-life function. CCB said the trial has ended, digital yuan accounts created during the trial will be deleted, and any top-up amounts will be sent back to the original bank account. 

The "big four" commercial banks have been running non-public trials of digital currency for around six months, but people will have to wait longer for official public trials, said Chen Bo, an associate research fellow at the Institute for Finance and Economics under the Central University of Finance and Economics told the Global Times.

"So far there are no plans from the central bank to start any official public trials because there are still problems in issuance and circulation," Chen said. 

Unlike Alipay and WeChat Pay, the digital yuan won't be just a means of payment. Digital yuan will be part of the total money supply, Chen said. 

CCB is one of the partners in the digital yuan trial programs run by the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank. Other operating partners include the other three commercial banks, as well as Alibaba, Tencent, China Postal Savings Bank and China CITIC Bank, according to media reports.

China has been pushing forward the development and operation of a digital currency. According to plans released by the PBC, pilot programs for the digital currency will expand to China's most prosperous regions and some poorer locations in central and western China. 

The first pilot programs are running in four cities - Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province, Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province and the Xiongan New Area, south of Beijing. 

However, Sun Guofeng, an official with the PBC, said recently that although the central bank will continue research into the digital yuan, there is not yet a timetable for its official launch.

"The most likely time for the official public trial is the Winter Olympics in 2022," Chen said. 

Newspaper headline: CCB denies official operation of digital yuan


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