China expands central bank digital currency (CBDC) testing to four more provinces.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will expand its digital yuan pilot project to several more provinces. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, about 360 million more Chinese residents will have access to the e-CNY.
Fan Yifei, the PBOC’s Deputy Governor, said that the digital currency will soon become available to residents of several densely populated provinces:
- Guangdong (~126 million);
- Sichuan (~81 million);
- Jiangsu (~80 million);
- Hebei (~75 million).
Yifei said the move would notably expand the central bank’s plans for CBDC use by citizens. The PBOC’s representative also said that the main purpose of testing the digital yuan is to replace cash.
The active testing of the Chinese CBDC was launched during the Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier this year. At that time, a crypto wallet for the e-CNY was created, and residents of Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Zhejiang, and Fujian got access to the digital currency. And just a few months later, the e-CNY testing program expanded to 11 more cities with a population of over 100 million people.
In June this year, more than 4.5 million merchants accepted the e-CNY as payment, Chinese residents began using the CBDC to make payments on household deposits, and major banks started issuing loans and insurance. In addition, citizens in the major cities of Guangzhou and Ningbo were able to pay for public transportation with the e-CNY.
The digital yuan was designed to strengthen China’s financial monopoly, so e-CNY cross-border trials began in parallel with domestic testing of the digital currency. However, the prospects of the e-CNY outside China have prompted some governments to take tough measures to prevent widespread use of the CBDC inside their borders.