China’s efforts to develop a centralized digital currency surfaced Sunday when the State Agricultural Bank of China launched its first digital ATM in RMB.
Customers at select subsidiaries in the Shenzhen area are reported to have begun using and transferring digital yuan received through the Chinese red envelope lottery, which raised $ 3 million in new currency from 100,000 local residents.
Automatic calculators are said to allow digital yuan to be entered and withdrawn through a smartphone app and allow users to transfer money and savings to and from central bank digital currency.
The Agricultural Bank of China is one of the “big four” state-owned banks in the country, which together represent the four largest banking institutions in the world. Zhou Hwa, head of the bank’s digital innovation lab, said the introduction of ATMs was part of an effort to bring citizens to the final digitization of cash.
He said, “The Agricultural Bank has taken the lead in launching the ATM cash deposit and withdrawal function in the industry to help Shenzhen residents adapt to cash digitization and explore service transformation.”
Shenzen Daily reports indicate that the rapid development of the digital yuan experiment may indicate widespread adoption throughout the year. However, in December, a former governor of the People’s Bank of China dismissed the idea that the digital yuan would replace international paper currencies, adding that China was taking a more cautious approach after seeing a global decline in a massive Facebook project.
China is a pioneer in central bank digital currencies. The digital renminbi is expected to become a cashless payment method in China’s smart cities in the coming years.