• Electricity Bills Can Now Be Paid in Digital Yuan

  • The digital Yuan is the most sophisticated central bank digital currency (CBDC) to date. China continues to add additional sectors where residents can spend their digital money, the most recent of which appears to be electricity bills, after years of building the state-backed cryptocurrency.

    An electricity bill payment option designed by China’s State Grid would be included in a digital yuan wallet app created by the country’s central bank.

    Unlike other third-party mobile payment apps, customers would be able to pay their electricity bills directly through the digital yuan app, without having to link their payment to a bank card.

    The new function, however, will be tested in nine cities and places, including Xiong’an New Area, Suzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi’an, Dalian, Changsha, and Qingdao, as well as at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

    The addition of the capacity to pay electricity bills expands the e-CNY ecosystem and increases the circulation of the new currency in China.

    The new news comes after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Shenzhen branch and Pingan Property Insurance’s local affiliate became the first to use e-CNY for insurance. For COVID-19-related deaths, the program pays out 300,000 yuan ($46,346), 50,000 yuan ($7,724) for coronavirus diagnosis, and 50,000 yuan ($7,724) for accidental deaths.

    China has distributed digital yuan in nine major cities, as well as public transportation networks in Beijing, to encourage consumption. Chengdu and Suzhou are two cities that have recently begun to accept digital yuan payments. Last month, the People’s Bank of China published its first white paper on the digital yuan. During the e-CNY trials, about 21 million personal wallets were opened, with transactions totaling 34.5 billion yuan (US$5.3 billion), according to the white paper.

    Concerns regarding the Digital Yuan’s Privacy

    Meanwhile, three US senators have raised severe concerns over the usage of digital yuan by American athletes during the Beijing Olympics. As a result, Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn, Cynthia Lummis, and Roger Wicker have called for the US national team to boycott China’s digital currency.

    Beijing has even responded to these worries, dismissing the concerns of US politicians.

    “We recommend they figure out what a digital currency is,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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