Two banks in China have begun offering cash exchange services for the digital renminbi, according to reports from local media.
Local media outlets are reporting that ATMs in Beijing have begun offering digital renminbi services. The Beijing Youth Daily said on June 18 that, as more citizens participate in a digital currency pilot program, related services have been picking up.
The outlet’s reporter tested the functionality of the ATM machine, saying that the Beijing Branch of ICBC and Beijing Branch of Agricultural Bank of China have launched an exchange service for digital renminbi and cash. The former has launched the service for over 3,000 ATM machines, making it the first bank to do so. The Agricultural Bank of China has launched the service on a much smaller scale, starting with ten machines.
The whole process reportedly takes only two minutes to execute. Users need to open the digital wallet of the respective bank and verify their identity before they can execute the exchange.
Machines with the function are marked with the digital renminbi logo. For the exchange for digital renminbi for cash, users will have to scan a QR code and authorize the transaction, after which they will receive the commensurate amount of cash.
The report gives an impression that the banks have tried to make the experience as seamless as possible. China, already a tech-savvy country, seems well and truly focused on launching this blockchain-based digital currency. The launch of these services by these two banks is likely to be followed by other banks, many of whom are also dipping their toes into digital renminbi services.
China’s CBDC program looks well on its way for launch
The new exchange service is simply another development in the long list of integrations and pilots that Chinese institutions are carrying out. The success of several pilot programs over the past 12 months has spurred officials into hinting at a launch very soon — which would make it one of the largest economies to launch a CBDC.
Smaller countries like the Bahamas and Cambodia have already launched their CBDCs, which is why PwC ranked them as the top CBDCs. But China’s official launch would make it the biggest entrant yet.
Other countries, meanwhile, are now playing to catch up with China, which began its experimentation with CBDCs much earlier. These include Canada, France, Japan, and ,possibly, the United States — and the growing interest in CBDCs is evident. It has now turned into an all out race, though there seems to be little concern for the fact that China is leading the pack.