The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), one of China's four state-owned banking giants, is reportedly testing the early user interface for China's central bank digital currency (CBDC). According to screenshots and comments leaked on social media, the ABC is only running a small internal pilot at this stage.
The test application, which prior to publication was available for download on iOS and Android mobile devices via a site on ABC's domain, offers a peek into the features that will be offered through the "Digital Currency Electronic Payment", or DC/EP wallet, including paying via a QR code, receiving and sending payments and initiating transactions by "bumping" against another user's phone.
Chinese media outlets have also reported that besides ABC, China's remaining major banks, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will be signing a digital currency distribution agreement by the end of April.
Commenting on the news, Ling Zhang, executive director of mergers and acquisitions at Binance said on twitter that:
Seems that testing wallet app is available for download. 4 cities will be available for the trial to begin with, including Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Xiongan.
China's central bank digital currency, and broader blockchain ambitions, have been accelerating for some time. While there is still no official launch or release date on the horizon, the global coronavirus outbreak is widely believed to have led to an accelerated launch schedule in China (but also delays), where fears about touching and using physical cash have soared.