A prototype version of a central bank-issued software and wallet is now accessible on Apple and Android app stores, bringing China’s digital yuan one step closer to reality.
The software can now be downloaded and used by all citizens at current test sites, according to the People’s Daily, China’s largest state-run news agency.
Previously, users of digital yuan wallets issued by state-owned commercial banks were required to use them. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) distributed the new pilot wallet directly, or rather, the bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute, developing the digital token.
According to the media outlet, users may only use the app in the following cities: Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian.
Individuals living in the districts where the Winter Olympics will be held next month in Beijing will also use the app.
The administration intends to have a full deployment in place in the capital — and even throughout the country – in time for the games, which begin on February 4.
The statement was praised as “significant progress,” albeit the media outlet did not specify a timeline for complete implementation, instead of adding that “at this time, the digital CNY is still in its usual testing stage” and “in the research and development phase.”
According to the PBoC, individuals will be able to familiarize themselves with “wallet opening and management” protocols, as well as “exchange and circulation” procedures, in the pilot version.
The PBoC tests a range of hardware wallets and smart card-like technologies to ensure that consumers without smartphone connectivity can utilize its digital token.