China’s digital yuan to be in use by the 2022 Winter Olympics

After several months of speculation, China has finally given a timeline of the release of its digital currency. The digital currency/electronic payment (DC/EP) will be in use during the 2022 Winter Olympics, a high-ranking officer at the People’s Bank of China has revealed. The source also confirmed that the four top banks will be in charge of its distribution.

In recent weeks, several reports have emerged regarding the DC/EP, with many claiming that the launch was edging closer. And now, PBoC has made its biggest reveal yet; that it will be used during the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Olympics will be held in Beijing and Hubei provinces from February 4-20. The revelation was made by state-owned television network CCTV, citing a relevant person in charge at the PBoC.

The source also confirmed that the country’s top state-owned banks were conducting internal tests in four cities initially. These are Xiong’an New Area, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Suzhou.

Reports from China a week ago had already revealed that the Agricultural Bank of China had released an app for the use of the DC/EP. The app was only for select users from these four cities which further confirm the latest reports.

The source at the PBoC further confirmed that the regulator is still conducting research and development of the digital yuan. He dismissed any rumors that the CBDC would affect the financial markets or the normal operations of the involved banks. Additionally, the source disclosed that the digital currency will target “small, retail and high frequency business scenarios” and that it will have some level of controllable anonymity.

The release of the currency may be sooner than the PBoC is letting on, however. As CoinGeek reported a few days ago, China reportedly intends on conducting a pilot program in which it issues the digital currency to state employees in May. The government intends on paying the employees in the city of Suzhou half of their May travel subsidies in the digital yuan. The four largest banks will facilitate this program.

Recent reports have not included tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent in the initial pilot programs. This is despite these companies having been selected as some of the chosen few that would distribute the digital yuan. This could indicate that the government wants to conduct enough pilot tests first before rolling it out to the public via the fintech channels.

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