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Beijing’s $6.2 Million Lottery Offers Chance To Pilot Digital Yuan

China is holding a 40 million renminbi ($6.2 million) lottery in Beijing to continue its digital yuan pilot program, CNBC reported, citing the Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration Bureau. 

Beijing residents can apply by June 7 to be part of a lottery to win one of the 200,000 prizes worth 200 digital yuan (about $31). The digital currency can be used to make purchases at select retailers.

The world’s second-largest economy has been working on a digital currency for use within the country for the past seven years. It has been conducting lotteries to pilot the coin but has yet to announce plans to release the currency country-wide.

Unlike bitcoin, which isn’t backed by a central agency, the digital yuan is issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and is an example of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

This latest lottery is one of several China has held as part of its digital yuan test run. Chengdu residents in February were given over $6 million. Trials were also held in Shenzhen, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

China’s central bank said in March that the digital yuan will not bump FinTechs like Alipay and WeChat Pay. Fan Yifei, a deputy governor of PBOC, has said that the digital yuan would be akin to legal tender.

Li Bo, a deputy governor of the PBOC, said in April that the digital currency pilot has been tested in 10 cities or provinces, spanning 100 million people. There also are plans in the works to run a digital yuan pilot for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

He also said that the coin will be used in the domestic economy and is not a way to reduce the country’s reliance on the U.S. dollar. 

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