China's Digital Yuan Soars Past $5.3 Billion in Transactions As Bitcoin Plummets

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Today, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced the country's digital currency, e-CNY, has surpassed more than $5.3 billion (34.5 billion yuan) in transactions amid increased restrictions on the mining and usage of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

That amount was spread across more than 70.7 million transactions, PBOC said, between the 20.8 million individuals and 3.5 million businesses with e-CNY wallets. Those numbers might seem low compared to China's population of 1.4 billion people, but the digital currency is still being tested ahead of its official debut.

"So far," PBOC said on its English language website, "as the top-level design, function development, and system testing has been basically completed, the PBOC has initiated pilot programs in some representative regions while making sure the pilots run in a steady, safe, managed, innovative and practical manner."

The official timeline states that PBOC started work on e-CNY in 2014, formed the Digital Currency Institute to develop the first version of the coin in 2016, received the State Council's approval to start testing the digital currency with commercial partners in 2017, and then started public tests throughout the country in 2019.

That puts the development of e-CNY well ahead of a similar digital currency related to the U.S. Dollar. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the agency plans to publish a report on those efforts—as well as stablecoins and cryptocurrencies—in September. Meanwhile, e-CNY has been used in tens of millions of transactions.

The continued development of e-CNY also helps explain the stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which PBOC criticized in June for enabling criminal activity, infringing "on the property safety of the people," and disrupting "the normal economic and financial order." They also compete with the official digital currency.

PBOC said in the white paper published today that e-CNY is currently being tested in 11 cities and provinces throughout China. Bloomberg reported that it "will explore cross-border trials based on overseas needs," too, and has vowed to "respect other countries’ monetary sovereignty in the process." (Not that it would say otherwise.)

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • Integr8d
    "Not that it would say otherwise. " Umm because they're lying. Every Chinese national that I've interacted with has said the same thing; you do not want the CCP to control anything.
  • spongiemaster
    Make any potential competition illegal raised the value of their digital currency? Completely surprising.
  • dobermanmacleod
    People do not understand: CBDC is a blessing, but like many high technology gifts it comes with the price of individuality. What isn't said is that central governments using CBDC will have unprecedented information and control about it circulating. That means much more efficient managed economies, and that means gigantic pay-off when it comes to social vs anti-social energy.

    BTW, China will be much more nimbly and quickly adopt the Digital Yuan than Americans would a Digital Dollar. Furthermore, once the hardware/software infrastructure is proven, China can export it so any country can have their own CBDCs, having a profound effect upon the US control of the world banking system.
  • carljr77
    Is this a joke??
    The digital yuan is down both in USD and in terms of Bitcoin. in Bitcoin May 13: 0.000000727 BTC/YCC

    Price in Bitcoin Jul 17: 000000338 BTC/YCC

    That's more than a 50% drop in terms of Bitcoin. The article should read, "China demolishes domestic CBDC in attempt to dethrone Bitcoin".
  • coolitic
    I see Toms is shilling for the CCP now.
  • Peter Imran
    Every Chinese? I doubt you have any Chinese friends and you say every Chinese friends you know says that the CPC can't be trusted. Go ahead and trust your government as they are keeping you poor. Seen the tents by the roadsides lately? They are increasing by the day.