The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), one of China’s state-owned banks released something which appeared to be the beta version of the anticipated Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) after a screenshot of the app was widely circulated on WeChat, the country’s equivalence of Facebook.
The screenshot went viral on the platform and showed some features of the future CBDC Mobile Application. Its interface integrated some key elements that one would expect in a typical virtual currency App such as exchange, wallet management, transaction tracking, and connecting other wallets.
A link leading to the download of the Mobile Application (both iOS and Android) versions also appeared online, another evidence to show that indeed the application has been built amid this worrying coronavirus pandemic. However, initial reports indicated the App was not yet ready for public use but for whitelisted users.
ABC bank will make the test App available for the trail in four locations across China including Chengdu, Suzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiong'An. It is still unclear when the final version of the App would be rolled out for public consumption.
Analysts say the idea of a central bank regulated digital currency was inspired by Facebook’s Libra currency initiative. China took it up very quickly and announced in March 2018 it would be developing a centrally managed digital yuan sometime managed by the PBoC.
As coinidol.com, a world blockchain news outlet, has reported, digital yuan development is going according to its plan. At least, that was what PBoC announced during 'Quarterly Financial Statistics Data Presentation'. If that is true and the project is successfully launched, China would be ahead of all the countries (including the US) in putting the idea into action.
Elsewhere in the world, France, the UK, Japan, Korea and other countries are in the same race to executing digital currency ideas. This makes it sound as if the world is yet in another sort of digital currency competition provoked by Facebook. Governments have also attributed the spread of the coronavirus to handling paper money, something which could potentially speed up the digital currency development amid a global coronavirus pandemic.