China's central bank on July 16 released a white paper on the progress of the country's digital fiat currency or the e-CNY, which summarized the background, technology roadmap as well as objectives of the field.
Following are some facts and figures related to e-CNY.
— E-CNY is the digital version of fiat currency issued by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and operated by authorized operators. It is a value-based, quasi-account-based and account-based hybrid payment instrument, with legal tender status and loosely-coupled account linkage.
— According to a survey conducted by the PBOC in 2019, the number and value of transactions via mobile payment accounted for 66 percent and 59 percent of the total.
— From 2014 to 2016, the PBOC established the digital fiat currency research group and kicked off research in the field.
— In 2016, the PBOC built the concept prototype of China's first-generation digital fiat currency, established the Digital Currency Institute (DCI), and proposed the top-level designs and fundamental features of e-CNY.
— The PBOC started the e-CNY R&D project at the end of 2017. Large commercial banks, telecom operators and Internet companies ranking high in asset size and market share and strengths in technology development were selected to participate in the project.
— The PBOC has launched e-CNY pilots in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong'an and Chengdu since the end of 2019. The pilot runs were designed to test the reliability of theories, the stability of systems, the usability of functions, the convenience of processes, the applicability of scenarios and the controllability of risks.
— From November 2020, Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi'an, Qingdao and Dalian joined the pilot.
— As of June 30, 2021, e-CNY had been applied to over 1.32 million scenarios, covering utility payment, catering service, transportation, shopping, and government services.
— More than 20.87 million personal wallets and over 3.51 million corporate wallets had been opened, with transaction volume totaling 70.75 million and transaction value approximating 34.5 billion yuan (about $5.33 billion).
— The PBOC will continue to prudently advance the pilot e-CNY R&D project in line with China's 14th Five-Year Plan, with no preset timetable for the final launch.