China’s WeChat app will support digital yuan payments as it joins the pilot program. The program for the CBDC recently expanded to include 11 more cities.
China’s popular social media app WeChat will join the digital yuan pilot program, according to an announcement published on April 7. Support for the digital currency on WeChat was first revealed in early 2022, but with the recent announcement, it becomes clear that the effort is really taking off.
WeChat has over one billion users and is one of China’s most widely used applications. With the support for the digital yuan, the latter could really see its usage numbers grow. The app is already something of a hub for a variety of services, including ordering food and finding a cab.
With tight integration with other services, it may prove to be a real boon for the adoption of the digital yuan. The CBDC is already well on its way to becoming a phenomenon of daily usage, with increased expansion of the pilot program.
The digital yuan pilot program was recently expanded to include more cities and will be used in the upcoming Asian Games. It was also trialed in the recent Winter Olympics. There hasn’t been much information on how effective it was in the latter event, but the willingness to use it in a showpiece event is an indication of development progress.
By most accounts, the digital yuan pilot experiment was a success. Since its launch, it has reportedly seen nearly $14 billion in total transaction volume, though some reports state that some accounts are simply opened and unused.
China cracks down on crypto in the meantime
While the digital yuan program has been growing, the crypto market itself has been dwindling. The Chinese government is strict on crypto usage and has been on a crackdown since it laid down laws last year. The government has banned holding and trading crypto, as well as mining.
WeChat recently suspended accounts linked to NFTs, which is in compliance with the government’s stance on crypto. The Supreme Court ruled that crypto transactions are illegal fundraising, which adds to the growing negative sentiment against the crypto asset class in the country.
It has even offered cash prizes in an effort to clamp down on the market. While this has been happening, it is finding ways to use blockchain tech to improve its economy.