China launched a digital yuan trial last year in cities including Suzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xiong’an. Now, China may trot out the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by giving foreign athletes and visitors a chance to use it.
As reported by CNN, Li Bo, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said on Sunday (April 18) that the digital currency pilot has now expanded to cover a total of 10 cities or provinces, spanning 100 million people.
Speaking at China’s Boao Forum for Asia, the central bank official said the test program is focused on how the digital yuan, or renminbi, could be used in the domestic economy, rather than as a way of reducing the country’s reliance on the U.S. dollar. “For the internationalization of renminbi, we have said many times that it’s a natural process, and our goal is not to replace the U.S. dollar or any other international currency,” Li said. “Our goal is to allow the market to choose.”
The test program comes against the backdrop of a surge of interest in cryptocurrencies. David O’Brien, CEO of Agreement Express — a software provider to payment facilitators — told PYMNTS that what’s happening is the passing of the torch from one generation to another in terms of which preferences are driving the direction of the economy.
“The biggest lesson is, we’re so used to how things ran before, because baby boomers have kind of controlled the narrative,” O’Brien said. “But we have this massive population bump coming in — I think close to 50 percent of the workforce are millennials. And they’re starting to get more of a voice, and they’re starting to earn more. They’re starting to drive the economy.”
The big cryptocurrency news from last week was Coinbase going public with a valuation of $86 billion. One wrinkle in the picture: It still isn’t easy to get a good reason as to why something like bitcoin is worth $60,000 a pop.
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