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CCB revoked the digital yuan after it drew attention from users

Photo of: Dennis Ramos
by Dennis Ramos

In a hush-hush affair a major bank in China furtively initiated a wallet service for China’s Central bank digital currency to public users, but looking at the increased attention it received, it disabled it immediately. Let us read on to find out

The news came out in the open when one of the customers of China Construction Bank noticed that a central bank digital currency wallet feature was available on the mobile application of the bank. Upon looking for ‘digital currency’ in the app, users were able to discern the digital Yuan wallet service. They could activate the usage of this feature with the mobile number they use for their bank accounts at CCB. 

Just this feature which was discovered by a user was enough to spread word immediately in the crypto community and media. It is still not clear whether the service was opened by CCB to make it public, but then its immediate withdrawal was surprising. Some users also made a few wallet transactions by linking their CCB bank accounts with the wallet. But it seems that the bank has understood the magnanimity of the spread. The bank upon realizing the same disabled feature from public users. When the users searched the term in the app again, a new message “This function is not yet officially available to the public. Please wait patiently,” awaits them. The small feature in the mobile app could be one way of testing the idea and how the feature is functioning. Whatever the reason is, it is clear that the giant bank has been working on developing features to adopt the digital yuan initiative also known as DCEP, led by the People’s Bank of China. 

CoinDesk was able to view the wallet interface which showed that the users who had activated the service were given specific wallet IDs with which they could make transactions between the bank account and the wallet. Users also could transport the digital Yuan to each other when they enter their unique wallet ID address or even the mobile number making accessibility easier. Now that the feature has been revoked we have to wait and see if, under the direction of PBoC, the big four state-owned commercially successful banks come out with their respective digital yuan wallets. This could be that the bank was running an advanced prototype testing amongst a few users and merchants to see the reactions. 

The questions now cropping up are:

  • If the testing is successful and will the bank officially launch these services to the public.
  • If yes, then when will it happen?
  • Was this the testing of the Minimum viable product of the new feature that underwent testing?
  • If yes, was it successful or will it add newer features for wider acceptability? 

PBoC is also working with DiDi Chuxing and other internet-based services so that digital yuan can be integrated within several payment scenarios. In an announcement, DiDi said that it will be working with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on the project, with a launch reportedly being eyed for next year.