China Launches Digital Yuan Wallet For IOS And Android

The wallet is available for Android and iOS devices in their respective app stores, as the launch brings the country one step closer to introducing a central bank digital currency.

Digital yuan wallet pilot now available throughout China

The report of the wallet’s launch was first shared by a local news outlet called BlockBeats. BlockBeats made the announcement on Twitter, saying that the central bank’s digital currency research institute released the so-called “e-CNY (Pilot Version)” app. The locals can go to their preferred app store and download the wallet, explore its features, and carry out pilot trials.

Reuters published a follow-up report that confirmed that the wallet is out, noting that it first became available on January 4th in Shanghai. The wallet is still in its research and development mode, and it includes a notification that broadcasts this status when users launch the app.

The app is only available to accredited users via institutions that offer services around the CBDC, including China’s largest local banks.

Digital yuan usage on the rise

China has been the leader in CBDC creation, as it worked on creating a functioning native cryptocurrency for years. Back in November 2021, the central bank issued a report that revealed that more than 140 million individuals have opened e-CNY wallets during its testing phase.

The figure represents a sevenfold increase from the number reported in June 2021, when only 24 million users had downloaded the wallet. The amount of digital yuan that was transacted has also surged between June and November last year, from $5.4 billion to $9.7 billion.

Another major development that took place in November 2021 was the partnership between China’s Construction Bank and one of the largest local e-commerce platforms, JD.com. Through the partnership, JD.com managed to become the first company in China to start accepting e-CNY as a payment method, added just-in-time for the local shopping festival called Singles Day when JD.com usually records billions of dollars in sales.

The US believes the digital yuan can be used for espionage

China is in a hurry to launch its coin, announcing that it will be out in time for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, during which time athletes and foreign visitors will be able to use it. However, last summer, when this announcement was first made, several US senators urged the US Olympic Committee to forbid the usage of digital yuan during the event.

Senators Cynthia Lummis, Marsha Blackburn, and Roger Wicker all expressed concerns that the wallet and the coin could be used for spying and espionage.

China’s authorities responded quickly, with the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, advising the US officials to refrain from making baseless accusations and assumptions about the country’s upcoming digital coin. The spokesman also remarked that the US does not seem to be aware of what digital currencies are, given their assumptions on what they can be used for.

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