China Launches Smart-Contract Functionality on Digital Yuan Through E-Commerce App Meituan

Through the smart contract, users can win part of a daily prize of $1,312 for using the digital yuan.

AccessTimeIconJan 19, 2023 at 8:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 19, 2023 at 9:28 p.m. UTC

China has enabled smart-contract functionality for its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan, through the e-commerce app Meituan, one of China's largest food delivery and lifestyle apps.

China has been at the forefront of CBDC development among major countries, as it started to test the digital currency as early as 2020. The currency has been used in retail transactions and to buy securities, but smart-contract functionality on a mass retail scale has yet to be tested.

The smart contracts used by Meituan allow a daily prize of 8,888 RMB ($1,312) to be divided up, according to local crypto media outlet 8btc and other mainstream internet media outlets in China.

When a user places an order with the app and pays for it with the digital yuan, the smart contract is triggered and looks for certain keywords in the list of goods purchased and the merchant name. If a user happens to have some of those keywords, which change daily, the smart contract will allocate a portion of the 8,888 RMB to his or her digital yuan wallet.

At the end of 2022, digital yuan accounted for 0.13% of the total circulation of Chinese renminbi yuan, the People's Bank of China said earlier in January.

The PBOC's Digital Currency Institute said in September it was working to increase smart-contract functionality and later rolled out a smart contract-based function that prevents payees from wrongfully taking prepaid funds.


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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.