China’s Digital currency might be integrated with the country’s financial ecosystem sooner than expected despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is after one of its state-owned banks – Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) – released an application that accommodates the prospective central bank currency, DC/EP.
Screenshots were circulated on WeChat this week in regards to this milestone. According to the information shared, it appears the ABC has already developed a front-end interface to enable client interaction with digital currencies.
Notably, ABC is among four Chinese state-owned banks that had earlier been tasked by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to roll out a pilot of its digital currency.
ABC Bank Integration with China’s CBDC
Looking at some of the App features, ABC bank clearly intends to match the crypto service scene while being fueled by the DC/EP. Basically, the ecosystem provides a digital wallet, exchange and transaction follow-up services.
With these tools, its users can then leverage services such as crypto payments via QR code on top of sending and receiving digital assets in a few clicks. In addition, they can further connect ABC digital wallets with other crypto storage platforms for efficiency in funds management.
This innovation by ABC bank is set to accelerate China’s shift towards digital currency payment networks; a project that has received much emphasis since Facebook announced Libra.
The application has since been rolled out on android and iOS devices, but for whitelisted users only. It is currently being tested in four pilot cities that host ABC bank operations; the regions include Chengdu, Suzhou, Xiong’An & Shenzhen.
The Expert’s Take
This development by ABC bank has attracted a number of comments from prominent stakeholders in the financial industry. Sino Global Capital CEO, Matthew Graham, is among those who took to twitter noting this milestone is quite something for China, given the prevailing COVID-19 uncertainty.
“Americans still trying to figure out if they should put on a face mask while China pushes out a revolutionary technology”
One senior IMF financial expert has, however, said that the initiative could be more of a Proof of Concept as opposed to a pilot program for China’s CBDC. Speaking to Decrypt, John Kiff highlighted that he has reservations on whether the ABC app is really a DC/EP pilot,
“Uruguay was a real pilot and so is the Bahamas Sand Dollar, because they’re real live tests with real people. But others who announce pilots I suspect are launching what I’d call more like proofs of concept, involving simulated agents or very limited populations. I suspect that the PBoC has done the latter types of pilots.”