China’s digital yuan crosses $13.68 billion in Txs; Is adoption rising?

Lavina Daryanani
China digital yuan
Source: Pixabay

China’s digital yuan wallet is already one of the fastest-growing apps, by installs, in the mainland now right now. Launched on 4 January by the PBoC, the e-CNY wallet was the most downloaded app on China’s Apple iOS app store on 8 January. It retained the same spot for five back-to-back days.

As highlighted in a recent article, official data pointed out that during July-October 2021, the e-CNY wallets increased nearly seven-fold, to 140 million. This was equivalent to one-tenth of China’s population. Parallelly, the cumulative transaction value noted an 80% incline to 62 billion yuan [$9.77 billion].

New numbers, same old tale

However now, the latest numbers are out. As of the end of 2021, the digital yuan’s historical transactions reached 87.565 billion yuan, roughly around $13.68 billion. The People’s Bank of China revealed the same on Tuesday.

Quite parallelly, the number of personal digital yuan wallets surged 86.4% in the same period to 261 million, the PBoC said.

The aforementioned numbers quite clearly highlight that despite the impressive adoption rate of digital currency, the transactional volume has not been able to cope.

The PBoC has been conducting trials of the digital yuan for over two years and only now has the central bank started paying attention to the adoption-volume discrepancy.

Before offering the digital yuan to the general public, the central bank’s initial tests were only open to users selected by lottery. Only after being invited, residents of handpicked cities could use the digital yuan vouchers to buy products at designated stores within a stipulated time period.

However now, with apps on people’s phones, the authorities have planned the means of raising awareness and use of the new e-currency. As per G.Bin Zhai, senior economist at PWC China, the users will use the e-CNY to pay for water, electricity, and medical bills. Additionally, the upcoming Winter Olympics is expected to be a high-profile showcase for digital yuan.

For the PBoC’s nail to hit the head, the currency needs to start getting used more in real life by people. The digital yuan’s much wider availability now, when compared to earlier stages of the trial, and the promotional steps taken by the government have the potential to encourage greater use and bridge the gap.