China’s digital yuan pilots have processed $300M so far, says PBoC head

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The governor of China’s central bank has given more details about the country’s ongoing digital currency pilot. 

Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China, said that the digital yuan pilots have processed over four million transactions to date, totaling more than 2 billion yuan ($299 million). The official delivered his latest remarks at the Hong Kong Fintech Week conference on Nov. 2, Bloomberg reported.

According to Yi, the pilots have been going smoothly so far, having rolled out for extended testing in four cities. 

Growth in demand for digital and contactless payment methods amid the coronavirus pandemic have posed major challenges for central banks, as they try to juggle user security with convenience, Yi said.

The official noted that fintech companies have some key advantages over commercial banks in terms of building a customer base and managing risks.

The PBoC launched the first pilots for its forthcoming digital yuan in April 2020. The initial trial reportedly included four major cities: Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Xiongan. The program was reportedly expanded to nine cities, including Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau.

In early October, the PBoC officially announced that the digital yuan wallets processed $162 million in transactions between April and August 2020.

Major tech companies have already begun preparing for the seemingly inevitable launch of the digital yuan. Huawei recently announced that its newest smartphone, Mate40, will feature a wallet for the currency and allow users to transact with it, even when they are offline.