China to hand out $1.5 million in Lunar New Year digital currency test
Men in face masks walk past a gap store in a shopping district as the country is struck by a new coronavirus outbreak on Feb.7, 2020 in Beijing, China.
Jason Lee | Reuters
BEIJING – China’s capital will spend around $ 1.5 million in a limited test of the central bank’s digital currency, the city government said over the weekend.
This is the third major test of the digital currency being developed by the People’s Bank of China. The cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou have conducted similar experiments in the past few months.
In that study, Beijing announced that it would select 50,000 from a pool of applicants to receive 200 yuan, or about $ 30 each in digital currency. Recipients can spend the money in certain offline locations or on parts of the JD.com e-commerce website during the upcoming New Year holidays.
The vouchers are valid from February 10th to 17th. The digital currency test is only available to people with a Chinese ID number or a residence permit from Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
The People’s Bank of China has developed a digital currency that is expected to work similarly to transactions through existing payment apps. Mobile Pay, mainly through the Alibaba-affiliated Alipay app and Tencent’s Wechat Pay, has replaced cash as the predominant form of consumer payment in China in recent years.
Unlike popular digital currencies like Bitcoin, the currency developed by the Chinese central bank is not controlled by a decentralized system managed by users around the world.