China’s long-anticipated digital yuan has arrived in the wallets of some ordinary citizens.
Beijing began exploring a digital currency in 2014, with the project going into high gear in 2017—the same year the country cracked down on cryptocurrency trading. The digital yuan is very much not a cryptocurrency; like the regular yuan, it is under the control of the People’s Bank of China, and will be rolled out with the help of the country’s largest commercial banks. After conducting small-scale trials earlier this year, China began its largest test yet yesterday, with 200 yuan ($30) worth of the virtual money issued to 50,000 citizens in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen through a lottery.
The pilot comes as the Chinese president Xi Jinping prepares to visit Shenzhen tomorrow (Oct. 14) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country’s establishment of its first special