China has expanded its digital yuan trial with the addition of ATMs around the city of Shenzhen, which offer trial services for the CBDC, Shenzhen Daily reported on 10 January.
According to the publication, the Agricultural Bank of China — one of the “big four” state-owned banks in the country — launched the new initiative in order to prepare the citizens for the eventual digitization of the yuan. With the addition of the ATMs, selected customers of the bank can now deposit and withdraw the CBDC through a smartphone app, in addition to converting their savings and cash to the digital yuan. Zou Hua, manager of the bank’s digital yuan Innovation Lab, said in a statement:
“Agricultural Bank has taken the lead in launching the ATM cash deposit and withdrawal function in the industry to guide Shenzhen residents to adapt to the digitization of cash and explore service transformation.”
The new CBDC-enabled ATMs were released shortly after the city of Shenzhen announced its second digital currency lottery, which has already gifted 20 million digital yuan (around $3 million) to 100,000 local citizens. According to Shenzhen Daily, the winners of the lottery have already started to spend and convert the CBDC they received as port of this “red envelope” giveaway.
China has been on the forefront of CBDC research, and is expected to be one of the first super powers to release a national digital currency. In fact, reports in the Shenzhen Daily suggest that we could see a large-scale rollout of the digital yuan by the end of the year, and while officials are yet to announce an official release date, the country has been conducting more and more real world tests of its Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DC/EP) system.