The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, has already processed 1.1 billion yuan (~$162 million) worth of digital currency in pilot transactions.
The new detail was revealed by PBOC's deputy governor Fan Yi Fei at the SWIFT-organized virtual conference Sibos 2020, as reported by the South China Morning Post on Monday. Fan said 3.13 million transactions have already been processed using the digital currency as of late August.
This is the first time an official has revealed specific details about the digital yuan. Fan also confirmed that the pilot programs were running in major cities, including Shenzhen and Xiongan, and have made "positive progress." Pilots will also be conducted at the coming Winter Olympics in 2022, said Fan.
More than 6,700 use cases of digital yuan have already been tested, including bill payments, transport, and government services, according to Fan. The government has also used digital yuan "red packets" to reward about 5,000 medical workers involved in coronavirus treatment, said Fan. These red packets can reportedly be used at select merchants in the Luohu city.
"PBOC regards digital renminbi as an important financial infrastructure for the future," said Fan.
He went on to say that more than 113,300 personal digital wallets and about 8,800 corporate digital wallets have already been opened as part of the pilot transactions.
The details revealed by Fan indicate that China's digital yuan, officially known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP), is nearing official launch. China started researching digital currencies in 2014, well ahead of other major economies globally, including the U.S. and the EU, which have only recently begun their initiatives.
Last week, the European Central Bank published a comprehensive report on digital euro, saying that it needs to be prepared to issue a digital currency if and when the need arises. The U.S. Federal Reserve has also been researching digital currencies along with several regional Federal banks.
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