China continues at a brisk pace on its long march to launching a digital currency. Trials for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) have taken place in such cities as Chengdu, Shenzhen and Suzhou.
The campaign is now focused on those cities along with Beijing and Shanghai. Bitcoinist reported that China has the world’s most advanced digital currency initiative — and has handed out roughly $41.5 million in digital yuan at this point.
The project, first announced in 2014, is now in its eighth year and has also included tests in Hong Kong. The campaign features digital yuan getting handed out in red envelopes.
Traditionally, such red envelopes contain money that is commonly presented to children, family members, friends, or colleagues as a good luck wish, per the news site. Among other things, the color red is associated with vitality and happiness in China.
Bitcoinist said China’s central government is taking regional development objectives into account and speeding up its digital yuan tests. For example, the program recently started a lottery for Beijing to distribute 40 million digital yuan (about $6.3 million).
Also in the Chinese capital, one pilot project took in selected merchants in the Wangfujing business district and the online marketplace JD.com. The second trial project will concentrate on the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
In addition, digital yuan tests have targeted Shenzhen, China’s industrial and financial center. The program has given out 60 million yuan (about $9 million) in the familiar red envelopes.
Tests have expanded from merchants to include government services such as medical care, education, and transportation.
In Chengdu, tests have distributed 40 million digital yuan (nearly $6 million) thus far. The pilot has attracted at least 11,000 retailers and covers such sectors as catering and entertainment.
As the program has branched out, a digital yuan trial took in that city’s public transportation system.