China Will Test Digital Yuan at McDonald’s and Starbucks

April 28, 2020

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A digital currency supported by the People’s Bank of China will be tested in Shenzhen and the city of Suzhou. Four banks participate in the project: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Bank of China (BOC), and Construction Bank of China (CCB). And three mobile operators: China Mobile, China Telecommunication, and China Unicom.

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The trial program will affect the field of transport, education, trade, and medical services. Testing will also take place in major catering chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Some banks also decided to work with telecommunications companies to develop SIM cards with integrated digital wallets. Others have created their storage applications.

Meeting Key Points

This decision was announced at a meeting organized by the Department for Reform and Development of the Commission on Management of the New Area of Xiong’an. It also discussed the research and development of digital currency. If desired, retailers could attend the meeting.

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The new system assumes that the NBK will charge a new digital currency to commercial banks in exchange for a reserve in RMB. Users will need to register a digital wallet in financial institutions to receive and use coins.

Here is a list of catering and retail businesses that will participate in a pilot project in the New Area of Xiong’an, which was created only in September 2019:

  • Zhonghai SPV
  • Catering company Jinfeng Catering
  • Hotel Kaili
  • Oscar Studios
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Golden Baihe
  • Cainiao Inn
  • Automated Supermarket UnionPay
  • Automated Supermarket Jingdong

This will be the first step towards the real use of Chinese digital currency. It is worth recalling that the Xiong’an Blockchain laboratory was opened in late March. Laboratory Director Lee Hong set himself two goals:

First of all, we are creating a single blockchain infrastructure platform compatible with various blockchains. On this platform, we will study the use of blockchain in the New Area of Xiong’an, integrate and modernize it.

This is a really important event, but we should not forget that the digital currencies issued by the state are not decentralized and aim to strengthen control over the finances of the country’s inhabitants.

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