By Zhu Jinyi, Li Guohao, People’s Daily
A digital yuan wallet application, the e-CNY, hit major mobile phone app stores in China earlier this year.
The mobile application offers brand-new payment experiences. A swipe down on the screen would activate a QR code that enables users to receive money from others, while a swipe up wakes up a payment code which allows users to pay merchants.
Sub-wallets can be opened in the app and pushed to other apps installed on the phones of the users, including online shopping, food delivery, cab hailing and ticket booking.
After typing their phone numbers and setting usernames and personal identification number (PIN) for payment, it’s all ready for users to use the e-CNY. They can open digital currency wallets on the app run by authorized operators which now include nine banks, without inputting their personal information, such as names, ID numbers or bank card numbers. These wallets can be later upgraded with real-name information according to the needs of the users.
The sub-wallets in the app connect users’ wallets to different online merchant platforms, through which users can pay on these platforms with digital yuan PIN-free. They can also manage the transaction limit of each of their sub-wallets in the app.
From daily consumption to fees and taxes payment, digital yuan has been widely applied in a variety of scenarios in people’s daily lives. Student Ya Qi from the Renmin University of China in Beijing once shopped stationery with digital currency at the university’s gift store, and a Shanghai citizen surnamed Wang is doing grocery shopping with digital yuan every day. In Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province, a woman surnamed Chen is using the e-CNY to pay for the medical insurance for her mother, who lives far away from her.
Being piloted for a year and more, digital currency is seeing increasingly wider scenarios of application and improving public acceptance.
As of Oct. 22, 2021, 140 million personal wallets and 10 million enterprise wallets had been opened on the e-CNY app, making 150 million transactions totaling almost 62 billion yuan ($9.77 billion).
Digital yuan was initially piloted in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Xiong’an New Area, and later expanded to Shanghai, Hainan province, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao and Dalian. It will also be piloted in the upcoming Winter Olympics scenarios.
Apart from daily consumption, digital yuan will also be used in e-government affairs and securities trading
According to a recent report by Quartz, digital yuan has gathered tens of millions of users since it started mass testing in late 2019. The economic news site said China has been leading the race to develop a sovereign digital currency.
Dong Ximiao, chief researcher of China’s Qinnong Bank and part-time researcher at Fudan University, said digital yuan is a new infrastructure of China in the era of digital economy, and will restructure the Chinese currency and payment system.
Digital yuan, issued by the central bank of China in accordance with law, possesses all the basic features of cash yuan, and functions as a value measure, a means of circulation and a means of payment. It will better normalize money transaction, lower social cost, and make modern finance and economic activities more convenient, efficient and secure. In addition, it will also fill the digital gap brought about by mobile payment.
Dong told People’s Daily that as a fiat currency, digital yuan can break payment barriers and circulate freely and smoothly among all the banks and payment tools that support it, so as to avoid extra fees generated by transactions between different platforms and means of payment, and make transactions easier.
According to him, digital yuan can be spent or received by users without being bound with bank or payment accounts, and even without network connection via near-field communication.
The new form of currency can also improve financial stability, prevent financial risks, and enhance information and financial security, Dong said.
By Zhu Jinyi, Li Guohao, People’s Daily