The People’s Bank of China, or PBoC, is reportedly expanding the rollout of its central bank digital currency, e-CNY, to four of the country’s provinces, including Guangdong.
According to a Tuesday report from the South China Morning Post, PBoC Vice Governor Fan Yifei said at an event in Suzhou that the bank would roll out e-CNY trials in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hebei and Sichuan. With a combined population of over 360 million people, the reported move would be a marked expansion of central bank CBDC planswhich have been largely restricted to individual cities, merchants, and certain regions.
Chinese digital currency: Beijing to expand e-CNY trials to four entire provinces, including Guangdong https://t.co/kLnNnqn5iq
— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) September 20, 2022
With its first CBDC trials launched in April 2020, the Chinese central bank ultimately aims to replace cash with the digital yuan. Since January 2022, a reported 261 million users have set up digital wallets for e-CNY with over $13 billion in transactions. The country too deployed digital currency for visiting foreign athletes during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and began to allow the use of e-CNY as payment for some public buses in August.
To date, neither the PBoC nor Chinese government officials have announced any plans to make CBDC available nationwide. Fan said the expansion in the four provinces would happen “at the right time”.
The Bahamas became the first country to officially launch a nationwide CBDC – its sand dollar – in October 2020. Nigeria and China have rolled out their respective digital currencies in trials, while the biggest economic power of the world, the United States, has not announced specific plans to launch a digital dollar. As part of US President Joe Biden’s executive order on digital assets in March, government agencies and departments have started exploring CBDC designs as well as their potential benefits and risks.