China’s lead in the race for developing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is unassailable at this point. The country is making further progress, with the government’s blockchain service network looking to release a CBDC network beta this year.
Safe, Low-Cost CBDC Payments
China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) has announced plans to launch a public beta for a global CBDC network, per a blog post.
The BSN is a blockchain network that enables digital token and decentralized app (dApp) development.
In the post, the state-sponsored network explained that it would invest a considerable amount in research and development this year. The network plans to focus on digital payments primarily as it is working towards launching a Universal Digital Payment Network (UDPN).
Speaking on digital payments, the BSN pointed out that stablecoins and CBDCs have become more prominent across the world as countries look to embrace e-payments fully. The network plans to launch a payment network based on all developed CBDCs in the next five years.
“This digital payment network will completely change the current payment and circulation method, enabling a standardized digital currency transfer method and payment procedure for any information system,” the BSN explained, adding that a convenient, cost-effective beta will be available in the second half of this year.
With the payment network, the BSN is looking to provide a standard digital currency transfer procedure. It aims to combine systems like insurance, banking, enterprise resource allocation, and mobile apps through dedicated application program interfaces (APIs) to make global payments safe and cheaper.
The payment network is one of BSN’s four objectives for the year. The other three include expanding its network, promoting its new private platform, and expanding its ecosystem. In addition, the BSN reiterated its commitment to enhancing blockchain capabilities to companies and governments worldwide.
China Forges On With Digital Yuan
So far, digital yuan has been one of China’s most ambitious economic and financial projects. Officially launched in late 2019, the project has gone through extensive tests last year and looks to be entering advanced testing phases.
Last year saw several firms and government agencies partner on testing the CBDC in several real-world situations, mainly through giveaways and retail spending. The developers haven’t relented in their efforts this year as they look to strengthen their research and testing base.
Last week, local news sources confirmed that the Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country’s largest state-owned banks, had launched ATMs for the digital yuan. As the reports explained, the machines were installed at specific branches within Shenzhen. Customers at these branches have been able to spend and convert the digital yuan tokens they got as a part of the government’s “red envelope” lottery – a project that saw the government hand out $3 million worth of the asset to 100,000 citizens.
The machines reportedly allow digital yuan deposits and withdrawals via a smartphone app. Users can also convert their savings and cash to the CBDC.