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China might be close to launching its CBDC as the Agricultural Bank of China has now started testing an official mobile app for the national digital currency.
China has been making the news rounds for many months, with developments on the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Now, a major Chinese bank, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), has begun a test run for an app that will be used for the CBDC when it fully launches.
According to a CoinDesk report, ABC has developed a mobile application for this purpose. On Tuesday, April 14, several screenshots were floating around WeChat, China’s largest social media app. The screenshots, as verified by CoinDesk, are actual images of the app interface, showing how people would use the app. With this development, China seems to be making significant headway with its national digital currency, although there is no official launch date.
The ABC is one of the four large banking firms owned by the state, and already allows access to the app. Via its website, users on both the Android and iOS mobile operating systems can access the app in this trial. The trial offers a wallet and allows people to make payments using a QR Code. In addition, the new app will also allow users to send and receive funds simply by touching another phone that has the app installed.
The app doesn’t seem to be open to the public yet. This is because while there is a clear option for registration, it is inactive. This suggests that the trial is available to a controlled group of testers. Buttressing this is that the app clearly shows that only four cities in China have access at the moment. They include Suzhou, Chengdu, Xiong’An, and Shenzhen.
CBDC from China
Last year, Facebook revealed plans to float its Libra cryptocurrency. Facebook announced the Libra as a stablecoin backed by a basket of fiat currencies. Fierce criticism, however, followed the Libra idea right from the announcement. However, at that point, countries could no longer ignore cryptocurrency and began to do a lot of research into developing their own CBDCs.
China also began developing its own CBDC with rumors floating that the Facebook announcement spurred the country to do just that.
Back in January the head of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) Digital Currency Research Institute, Mu Changchun announced that China was ready to begin trials. Changchun, however, did not offer any specifics on the planned trials or how it will run.
According to previous news, China, through the PBoC, will issue the CBDC through a few commercial banks. The issuance process will be completely controlled by the PBoC, which has overseen its creation. The banks will function as an intermediary, between the end-customers and the central bank. This is how the CBDC will be procured and transactions facilitated.
China has split the entire operation process into six divisions. These include issuance, circulation, interbank settlement, management, withdrawal, and investment and financing.