Chinese Bank Disables Digital Yuan Wallet After Brief Activation Draws Public Attention

Piyasi Mitra
Piyasi Mitra is a journalist, features writer and copy editor who has worked with The Times of India and the ABP Group, and is currently exploring content creation in the digital space.
  • China Construction Bank (CCB) opened up a wallet service for China’s central bank digital currency to public users, but disabled it soon after as the news spread.
  • On Saturday, customers of China Construction Bank (CCB) began to notice that a central bank digital currency wallet feature was available within their bank’s mobile application.

Around Saturday noon as per local time, China Construction Bank (CCB) opened up a wallet service for China’s central bank digital currency to the public without anybody having an inkling of it. Perhaps the soft launch was meant to be hush-hush, as the authorities disabled it soon after the feature started gaining public attention.

On Saturday, customers of China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the big-four state-owned commercial banks, began to notice that a central bank digital currency wallet feature was available within their bank’s mobile application.

Typing “digital currency” on the search bar directed the app users to the digital yuan wallet service. During the brief activation period, users could also navigate it by registering with the mobile phone number associated with their CCB bank account.

China Construction Bank’s New Addition

There is little clarity regarding the exact time when CCB activated the service, but news of the feature spread in no time among the Chinese cryptocurrency community and media on Saturday. Some of the public users had even managed to make small transactions by linking their CCB bank accounts with the wallet. Additionally, users could also send/receive digital yuan with other users through their unique personal identification number or a registered mobile phone number.

However, Chinese citizens would be disappointed if they want to explore the services now. The banking giant has currently disabled the feature to prevent people from using it. Searching for it in CCB’s mobile app now redirects to a message stating that this function is not yet officially available to the public, and that one has to ‘wait patiently’.

The momentary availability of the wallet is an indication that the Chinese commercial bank is working towards mass adoption of the digital yuan initiative, also known as DCEP, which is helmed by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

The People’s Bank of China has directed four major Chinese state-owned commercial banks to develop their respective digital yuan wallets and run pilot tests with a controlled group of users and merchants. It is also working with DiDi Chuxing and other internet-based services to apply digital yuan into more payment scenarios. 

With the digital yuan is scheduled to be tested at the 2022 Winter Olympics games in Beijing, China is a global frontrunner when it comes to developing a digital economy. Now, whether the banks will officially open up these services to people or add more features remains to be seen.

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