McDonald’s and Starbucks are among a group of companies to sign up to take part in a trial of China’s digital yuan, part of a pilot scheme ahead of a wider roll-out of the digital currency.
The pair joins 19 retail shops and restaurants in signing up for the trial, which will take place in Xiong’An, China. The announcement comes as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) prepares to move forward with its plans for a central bank digital currency.
According to local press reports, the Reformation and Development Commission of the Xiong’An district in Hebei province met to discuss the rollout strategy for the currency, with several state-owned banks already signed up to participate in trials.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the banks, who are in the process of developing wallet applications for the digital currency, as well as participants in the pilot scheme.
There were also representatives from leading Chinese company Tencent and Ant Financial, with the group set up to explore issues around delivering the pilot program to retail locations across the province.
If successful, the trial will be another step on the journey towards an imminent launch for the central bank digital currency, and comes at a time when other central banks worldwide are studying the feasibility of launching their own.
Subway and JD Supermarkets will also participate in the trial. There were no details specified as to the length of the pilot or a possible start date, though proceedings are expected to be underway in the coming weeks.
The news follows on from reports last week that the Agricultural Bank of China has already tested the user interface for its digital yuan app, ahead of a separate trial scheme that will see some government workers paid a portion of their expenses in the cryptocurrency.
According to the application, the scheme is being rolled out across a number of cities, including Chengdu, Suzhou, Shenzhen and the new district of Xiong’An.
While the developments suggest the digital currency is nearing launch, the People’s Bank of China said the trial “does not mean the digital yuan has been launched officially.”
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