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Nearly 21m (20.87m) personal and 3.51m corporate digital yuan wallets have so far been issued during China’s ongoing trials of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the People’s Bank of China[1] (PBOC) has revealed.

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To date, the digital currency — also known as e-CNY — has been used to make nearly 71m transactions with an overall value of about 34.5bn yuan (US$ 5.33bn) and has been used “in over 1.32m scenarios, covering utility payment, catering service, transportation, shopping and government services,” PBOC says.

The figures are revealed in the central bank’s newly released ‘Progress of Research & Development of E-CNY in China’ white paper, which reports on the digital yuan trial and confirms that “the pilot programme now spans the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and China’s central, western, north-eastern and north-western regions”, including those in the cities of Beijing[2], Shenzhen[3], Suzhou[4], Xiong’an[5], Chengdu[6], Shanghai[7], Hainan, Changsha[8], Xi’an, Qingdao and Dalian[9].

The pilots have been “designed to test the reliability of theories, the stability of systems, the usability of functions, the convenience of processes, the applicability of scenarios and the controllability of risks,” the white paper says.

Key concepts 

The white paper also lays out the key concepts and objectives of the programme and the principles on which the digital yuan has been designed, and provides further details about specific features of the CBDC.

In particular, it clarifies the concept of “managed anonymity” in relation to the privacy of transactions[10] conducted using the digital yuan, saying that the CBDC ecosystem “follows the principle of ‘anonymity for small value and traceable for high value’ and attaches

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