First Users Not Impressed by China's Digital Yuan: Report

A recent giveaway of China's in-testing central bank digital currency has reportedly left recipients wondering why they should change from existing solutions like Alipay.

AccessTimeIconOct 19, 2020 at 10:36 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:11 a.m. UTC

A recent giveaway of China's in-testing central bank digital currency (CBDC) has reportedly left recipients less than wowed by the user experience.

  • As reported previously, the city of Shenzhen and the People's Bank of China launched a "red envelope" lottery earlier this month, giving away 20 million of the digital yuan (worth around $1.5 million) to locals.
  • Two million people were said to have applied for a 200 digital yuan ($30) share of the total.
  • But according to Reuters, these early users of the trial digital currency feel the central bank has more to do if it wants them to switch over from existing payments apps like Alipay.
  • The news source polled users in a shopping district in Shenzhen, with one going by the surname Yuan saying she found the option less convenient and that she wouldn't use the CBDC again unless it was provided through another giveaway.
  • Another, surnamed Zhong, told Reuters the digital yuan infrastructure was similar to those from Alipay and WeChat Pay, which have been "out for a long time."
  • Even though, she said she may switch to using the CDBC if it seemed secure and convenient.
  • With the central bank playing catch-up to existing providers, it may have to offer incentives to grow adoption of the digital coinage when it finally launches.
  • “It’s especially important to offer convenience and other benefits to promote the use of digital yuan,” a senior economist at PwC China told Reuters.
  • For the Shenzhen lottery, over 3,000 stores were equipped with payment technology allowing the digital yuan winnings to be spent.
  • Point-of-sale devices at the stores' checkouts would scan a QR code on the users wallet app to deduct their spending amounts.

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