Several major Chinese banks have opened up applications for select individuals to activate digital yuan wallets, in what is being interpreted as another sign of progress in the country’s rollout of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Six of the country’s leading state owned banks are inviting applications from users in Shanghai and Beijing, unlike in previous trials which have been invite-only, or relied on lottery-style draws for participation, according to state media reports.
The move is being seen as a widening of the scope of trials of the digital currency, following successful regional pilots across the country. The latest phase will see digital wallets offered in Shanghai by banks including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Postal Savings Bank of China and Bank of Communications.
Local media outlets reported that at least three of the commercial banks involved in the latest phase will also open to individuals in Beijing.
While the application process has been opened to the public, individuals are still required to be approved for the trial in order to participate. Participation is confirmed by an SMS message sent within 24 hours of the application, which comes with instructions on how to download and activate the digital yuan wallet.
In order to take part, users will be required to provide their full real names, phone numbers, email and ID details, which are submitted via a QR code submission.
According to an official at the Postal Bank of China in Beijing, the application and onboarding process is expected to get smoother as more people sign up to participate: “Although the application criteria has not loosened up, we’ve opened it up to the public so the process is less restrictive than before. As the review process goes digital, the speed of getting applications approved will be much faster later on.”