On 29th August 2020, China Construction Bank (CCB) had a soft launch of the DCEP wallet. Users of one of China’s big four state-owned commercial banks found a DCEP wallet feature was available inside their mobile app. Users were also able to navigate to the digital yuan wallet and enable it by registering their mobile phone numbers.
Obviously, news of this spread like wildfire amongst the Chinese cryptocurrency community and social media. Some users were even reportedly able to make small transactions by linking their CCB accounts with the DCEP wallet. It appeared that users would be allocated a particular wallet ID for transactions between the wallet and their bank accounts (left image) when enabling the wallet, according to the images below that were being circulated. The main interface (center image) also shows many features such as deposit/withdrawal, displaying detailed transaction information, linking your bank account to the DCEP wallet, being able to “gift” red packets, repaying credit cards, updating, and canceling the DCEP wallet.
They also had the ability to pay/receive/transfer funds with a simple click, or to search the wallet of other users. Also interesting is the “red packet” function, as it takes a page out of the popular red packet feature of WeChat that allows people to send others an amount of money. Only the receiver sees the gifted number when they “pop” the packet. This feature is extremely common during the Chinese New Year, where managers or bosses will rain virtual red packets all over the WeChat chat community of their company for employees to collect with excitement.
Official information on the digital yuan wallet has been released.
ONLINE Vs OFFLINE
The issue of an internet link is already a hot topic for CBDCs, with Visa and Japan’s central bank both publishing papers on the subject. Power outages are a serious issue as digital currencies accelerate the decline of cash usage in Chinese cities. If necessary, China’s digital RMB wallet can be utilized offline. Instead of using WiFi, transactions can be made using a Bluetooth connection between two phones.
SOFTWARE Vs HARDWARE
It is critical to promote a favorable experience when using the digital RMB in order to ensure its long-term adoption. Hardware wallets are actual devices, whereas software wallets are mobile phone payment programs. Wearables, smart debit cards, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are among them. The ability to use the digital RMB without a smartphone is critical for increasing engagement among populations like the elderly and others who cannot afford a smartphone.
PARENT Vs SUB-WALLETS
For CBDC users, data privacy is a major concern, and China’s central bank is working to address this. The main wallet holder has the ability to create many sub-wallets within the parent wallet. This tool allows consumers to limit the amount of data that is sent to large tech companies, which often combine data about purchasing patterns from several sources. A sub wallet formed for use at a certain online store effectively has a separate identity, making it difficult to correlate with purchases made by the same person elsewhere.
A recent remark made by Mu’s predecessor, Yao Qian, on the subject of privacy was ironic. He refuted the US claims that one of the main goals of the digital yuan was for the government to keep track of all transfers in real-time. This is not a CBDC motivation because, as previously stated, the government already has that capability.
Meanwhile, China is making progress with its central bank digital currency (CBDC), which has been tested in 11 different locations. Mu’s speech falls on the first day of the Shanghai Digital RMB experiment, bringing the total number of CBDC participants to over two million.