Chinese digital yuan transactions have surged in value by 18 times in just under a year, the country’s central bank governor Yi Gang said on Wednesday.
Transactions using the e-CNY hit 1.8 trillion yuan ($249.33 billion) at the end of June, Yi revealed, marking a jump from over 100 billion yuan as of August last year.
The numbers cement China’s role as a leader among countries that are developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC) – digital tokens issued by central banks – although adoption is still in the early stages.
The e-CNY has so far been used mainly for domestic retail payments.
Speaking at a lecture organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in the Southeast Asian city-state, Yi said China’s digital currency in circulation reached 16.5 billion yuan at the end of last month.
Total e-CNY transactions reached 950 million, with 120 million wallets being opened, Yi said.
Still, e-CNY in circulation accounted for only 0.16% of China’s M0 money supply, or cash in circulation, Yi said.
“And you can see that right now the balance of e-CNY is only counting two-tenths of 1% of M0, so that the balance is very small, but with this kind of balance [we] support a big number of transactions, which means that the velocity is high and more efficient,” Yi said.
Chinese state-owned banks participated last year in a trial focused on cross-border transactions developed by the Bank of International Settlements.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara