McDonald’s and Starbucks not participating in digital yuan testing: report

McDonald’s and Starbucks are not participating in trials of China’s ‘digital yuan’ central bank digital currency (CBDC), with testing reportedly still confined to “small scale” trials.

The American fast food giants were previously thought to have been among the 3,000 firms taking part in trials of the token, which are being conducted primarily throughout the catering and retail sectors.

Some 19 companies were reportedly taking part in trials in the city of Xiong’an, with Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway among them. In reality, these firms have yet to join in the trials, which were set up to understand the effectiveness of the CBDC in common consumer situations, Sina reported.

According to the Chinese news outlet report, none of these firms have yet to take part in the trials, instead accepting digital payments only through partners WeChat, Alipay and QuickPass.

None of the firms concerned have issued public statements about the trials, and none were available for comment on the matter.

Digital yuan testing has been underway in China since April 2020, with the country reportedly at the forefront of the international drive to launch a central bank digital currency.

With central banks around the world actively considering and researching CBDC technology, the field trials represent the furthest stage of development of any major global central bank, and had led to suggestions China was preparing for an imminent roll-out.

Digital currency wallets associated with digital yuan testing reportedly handled $162 million in transaction volumes between April and August 2020.

The central bank has also been running a lottery worth $1.5 million to encourage participation in the trials, with a reported 2 million applications so far, across some 3,000 participating merchants.

It remains to be seen whether the likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks will eventually participate in the trials of the central bank digital currency.

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

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