The Chinese central bank is issuing digital coins worth 10 million yuan ($ 1.5 million) to 500 users, who will be chosen at random in a move that some consider the country’s first public test of the yuan’s digital payment system.
The People’s Bank of China (central bank) campaign comes at a time when central banks around the world are racing to issue their digital currencies to update payment systems, as well as ward off potential competition from private cryptocurrencies.
As of yesterday, anyone in Shenzhen, in southern China, can apply to join the program through the country’s four largest banks. However, only some will win 200 yuan through a lottery, according to the local government and banks.
Winners can use the digital currency at 3,389 retail outlets, including Sinopec gas stations, Walmart stores, CR Vanguard malls and Shangri-La hotels.
Kenji Okamura, the top Japanese diplomat involved in financial affairs, said on Thursday that China is seeking to gain a leadership advantage in its efforts to develop a digital currency.
And a group of 7 major central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, set out to determine what digital currencies might look like, in an effort to catch up with China’s pioneering role and outperform private projects such as the stable currency of Libra affiliated with Facebook.
According to the local government, the digital gift campaign in Shenzhen is a normal test for the digital yuan.
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