People in China have made about 20,000 transactions through e-commerce company JD.com in the country’s digital yuan trial.
According to local media outlet Global Times, JD.com reports that 80% of participants born in the 1980s and 1990s used the platform to make transactions in digital currencies starting Friday evening, with at least one transaction greater than $1,527.
The e-commerce site also reported the figure as the city of Suzhou conducted a real-world trial for the digital yuan at the “Twelve” shopping festival, in which 10,000 physical store locations participated.
The trial in Suzhou is one of many that could be conducted across China to test the central bank’s digital currency use case. The city’s municipal government reportedly handed out about 100,000 “red envelopes” – the traditional method of awarding prizes in China – containing $3 million in digital yuan in sweepstakes to residents. In October, the city of Shenzhen launched a similar pilot program to promote the digital currency with a public prize of $1.5 million to 50,000 lottery winners.
“In 2022, China will continue to look for more scenarios to test the digital yuan, but an extensive rollout is still unlikely,” said Cao Yin, managing director of the Digital Renaissance Foundation in Shanghai. He added that the Chinese government is likely to continue controlled trials until officials are confident the digital currency can be issued safely:
“We only have ourselves to compete on this matter, and there is no need to rush.”
The People’s Bank of China launched pilot programs for its digital yuan in April in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou, and Xiongan. As of November, the program has reportedly processed more than 4 million transactions, totaling about $300 million.
Since launching the digital yuan trial, the central bank has announced it will expand the number of test cities to include Beijing and Tianjin and the surrounding Hebei province. Cointelegraph reported in August that the bank could launch a digital currency before the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Beijing that February.