Chinese bank disables digital yuan wallet after soft launch draws wide attention

31 august 2020

A major bank quietly opened up a wallet service for China’s central bank digital currency to public users – but quickly disabled it after the feature gained widespread attention, according to coindesk.com.

Around noon on Saturday local time, users of China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the big-four, state-owned commercial banks, started to notice a central bank digital currency wallet feature was available inside the bank’s mobile app.


By searching “digital currency” in Chinese, users of the app could navigate to the digital yuan wallet service and further activate it by registering with a mobile phone number associated with their bank accounts at CCB.

It is unclear when CCB opened up the service, but news of the feature quickly spread Saturday among the Chinese cryptocurrency community and media. Some users had managed to make small amounts of transactions by linking their CCB bank accounts with the wallet.

However, the banking giant has now disabled the feature from public users. Searching for the same term inside CCB’s mobile app now leads to a message that says: “This function is not yet officially available to the public. Please wait patiently.”

Nonetheless, the brief availability of the wallet shows the Chinese commercial bank has been working towards adoption for the digital yuan initiative, also known as DCEP, which is led by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

The wallet’s interface seen by CoinDesk showed each user that had activated the service was assigned to a specific wallet ID, which could be used to make transactions between the wallet and users’ CCB bank accounts.

In addition, users could also send and receive digital yuan to each other by putting in either their unique wallet ID addresses or an associated mobile phone number.

Under the direction of the PBoC, the big-four Chinese state-owned commercial banks have been developing their respective digital yuan wallets and running internal tests with selected users and merchants in the country.

It remains to be seen when these banks will officially open up the services to the public and whether the wallets will enable more applications that can use the digital currency.

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Gabriela Nistor – director general adjunct BT

Tendinţele pe care le-am remarcat înainte de începerea pandemiei s-au accelerat pe perioada stării de urgenţă. Am văzut acest lucru ca o oportunitate, un tipping point pentru bancă. Post-pandemie nu avem cum sa ne întoarcem la comportamentul financiar pe care îl aveam până în februarie a.c. Relaţia românilor cu online-ul s-a schimbat. In plus, cardul fizic se va dematerializa. Vom asista la o scădere a cererii pentru cardurile fizice, respectiv la o creştere a preferinţei pentru componenta digitală a acestora.”

Sondaj

In 23 septembrie 2019, BNR a anuntat infiintarea unui Fintech Innovation Hub pentru a sustine inovatia in domeniul serviciilor financiare si de plata. In acest sens, care credeti ca ar trebui sa fie urmatorul pas al bancii centrale in 2020?