China’s expanding digital yuan trial is now open to 10 million people, all of whom are hoping to be part of the historic launch of a virtual currency backed by a central bank, Bloomberg reported Thursday (July 8).
The lottery will feature 200,000 prizes that are worth about 200 digital yuan, which can then be used to transact with several retailers across China. The digital yuan or renminbi will roll out for a larger trial at the Beijing Winter Olympics next year.
The eCurrency will be used for the domestic economy and is not intended to reduce the country’s reliance on the U.S. dollar. It will be used to pay some workers in China’s Xiong’an New Area.
Digital yuan can be stored in a variety of wallets — digital, physical, personal, or public — according to Mu Changchun, director general of the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
Digital yuan lottery applicants can join so-called “white lists” at state-owned banks that distribute the electronic currency. More than 10 million people have applied so far, said Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, at a press conference Thursday (July 8), according to Bloomberg.
“We have the confidence to continue increasing the scope of the trials,” he said.
The digital yuan lottery comes after other trials in the country, where, for instance, Chengdu residents were given about $6 million in digital yuan to spend in February. The central bank also piloted central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) across several cities, including Shenzhen, Suzhou and Hangzhou.
The central bank also recently shut down a Beijing-based company for providing unsanctioned cryptocurrency-related services. Cryptocurrencies issued by private institutions has been increasingly used as a payment method for illegal activities and money laundering, said Yifei at today’s press conference.