Chinese Bank Shuts Public Access To eWallet For Digital Yuan

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One of the four largest Chinese banks swiftly disabled its new soft launch for a digital yuan wallet after its quiet rollout got mass attention, according to CoinDesk.

Users of the China Construction Bank (CCB) began to notice the digital wallet feature, added suddenly and without fanfare to the mobile app. Users could search “digital currency” and find the app — and furthermore, they could activate it by entering the mobile phone number associated with their CCB account.

Some users even got to make small transactions in the digital wallet before the banking giant noticed and disabled it.

From that point on, users searching for the digital wallet would see messages saying, “This function is not yet officially available to the public. Please wait patiently,” according to CoinDesk.

But the brief trial run, however accidental, showed proof that the CCB has been working toward the much-publicized digital currency at the state level. The project is known as the digital yuan initiative, or the DCEP, and it’s helmed by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

Under the feature CoinDesk was able to look at, users accessing the wallet were given a digital ID and could use it to make transactions between the wallet and the users’ CCB accounts. They were also able to send and receive digital yuan by entering either the digital ID or a phone number.

The initiative to install a digital currency in China has been going on for some time as the PBoC has directed all four major banks to develop their own digital yuan wallets. It’s unknown when they’ll actually debut officially, according to CoinDesk.

PYMNTS reports that PBoC initiated a test run of the digital wallets that was done in terms of small retail transactions. The bank clarified it wasn’t working with larger retail transactions yet, apparently to squash rumors that the form was being used to pay for a large real estate sale. But the bank said the central bank digital currency was legal tender and fully convertible with banknotes at a one-to-one ratio.

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