Chinese Bank Opened Then Closed An Electronic Wallet

China’s largest state-owned banks have started testing the “electronic wallet” component of the People’s Bank of China’s “digital yuan” project and the tests are being conducted in cities including Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.  

The municipal government of Shenzhen said it would cooperate in efforts to test the system for different applications to transfer money and make payments.   Then they disabled it after the feature gained widespread attention.

China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the big-four state-owned commercial banks, started to notice that a central bank digital currency wallet feature was available inside the bank’s mobile app. By searching “digital currency” in Chinese, users of the app could navigate to the digital yuan wallet service and further activate it by registering with a mobile phone number associated with their bank accounts at CCB.

It is unclear when CCB opened up the service, but news of the feature quickly spread among the Chinese crypto-currency community and media. Some users had managed to make small amounts of transactions by linking their CCB bank accounts with the wallet.

The banking giant has now disabled the feature from public users. Searching for the same term inside CCB’s mobile app now leads to a message that says: “This function is not yet officially available to the public. Please wait patiently.”

Nonetheless, the brief availability of the wallet shows the Chinese commercial bank has been working towards adoption for the digital yuan initiative, also known as DCEP, which is led by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). The wallet’s interface seen by CoinDesk showed each user that had activated the service was assigned to a specific wallet ID, which could be used to make transactions between the wallet and users’ CCB bank accounts. In addition, users could also send and receive digital yuan to each other by putting in either their unique wallet ID addresses or an associated mobile phone number.

Under the direction of the PBoC, the big-four Chinese state-owned commercial banks are developing their respective digital yuan wallets and running internal tests with selected users and merchants in the country.

It remains to be seen when these banks will officially open up the services to the public and whether the wallets will enable more applications that can use the digital currency. The PBoC is also working with DiDi Chuxing and other internet-based services to apply digital yuan into more payment scenarios.

The Chinese government previously explained that the country’s four major state-run banks had started large-scale internal testing of the digital renminbi wallet. Besides China Construction Bank, Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China are piloting the digital renminbi with the central bank in major cities.

Trials are set to begin in even more cities, including Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau. The digital yuan will also be tested at the 2022 Winter Olympics games in Beijing. CCTV reported on Thursday that in Suzhou, some government officials have received part of their salaries in digital currency.

The new development represents another major milestone in China’s progress in adopting the digital yuan and comes in line with a key goal set by China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China. Last month the PBoC reportedly said that China should actively promote the development of the digital yuan as part of its top priorities for the second half of 2020.

Central Banking:        Bitcoin:    Coindesk:      Deccan Chronicle:        Coin Telegraph:

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