Last week, Shenzhen City, China announced a large-scale test of the digital renminbi through a lottery. Winners can start spending today at more than 3,000 merchants in Luohu District. At the same time, President Xi Jinping will make an inspection tour to the south this Wednesday. The digital renminbi test seems to be a demonstration to national leaders for this purpose, in conjunction with Xi Jinping’s initiative in October last year to upgrade the blockchain to the national policy level.
The Shenzhen Municipal Government announced yesterday that a total of 1,913,800 people had registered for the lucky draw for the “Luohu Consumption Promotion” event involving approximately 10 million yuan (RMB, the same below). Among them, only 50,000 people can get a profit of about 200 yuan per letter issued in the form of digital RMB. This event is a collaboration between the Shenzhen Municipal Government, the People’s Bank of China and the Shenzhen branch of the four major state-owned banks. The purpose is to conduct a routine test in the research process of the digital renminbi. It is also the largest public test in China.
According to Chinese media reports, yesterday, merchants in Luohu that can accept digital renminbi payments marked “digital renminbi”. Some merchants said that they already had relevant personnel in the morning to test the collection equipment after the system was modified. The automatic ticket vending machines in some subway stations are also marked, but as of yesterday afternoon, the digital renminbi has not been used for payment. Participating merchants this time include supermarkets, catering, and daily-use retail merchants, and the unused profits of users will be recovered by the system after the test is completed.
The People’s Bank of China has previously stated that it had begun to study the central bank’s digital currency (called DC/EP in China) as early as 2014, and in January 2017 it established the “Central Bank Digital Currency Institute”. Since Xi Jinping proposed to develop the blockchain industry last year, the progress of DC/EP has gradually accelerated. This year, internal tests have begun in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou, and Xiongan New Districts. As for the large-scale test in Shenzhen this time, it seems to show Xi Jinping the progress of DC/EP development. Compared with the global central bank, China is currently a little ahead.