Beijing Metro accepts digital yuan but not Bitcoin (BTC)

Tue 06 Jul 2021 ▪ 15h04 ▪ 3 min read — by Matthieu Palois

Alongside its crackdown on Bitcoin (BTC), China continues to grow its own digital currency: the e-yuan. It can now be used in the Beijing metro.

An anti-Bitcoin currency

While Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology and wants to be decentralised, stateless and independent, the e-yuan is a centralised digital currency, controlled by the Chinese Central Bank and sorely lacking in transparency.

Thanks to this digital yuan, the Chinese state can track all spending, since every e-yuan is traceable. Theoretically, the Chinese government can even encourage spending on e-yuan by creating an expiry date on money whenever it wants.

The digital currency market has huge potential in China. Currently, nearly 800 million Chinese already use the WeChat pay app that lets you pay using your smartphone.

China continues to roll out the e-yuan

On Tuesday, 29th June, Suzhou City in Jiangsu Province was the first Chinese city to accept e-yuan payments for subway trips. By mid-June, more than 3,000 ATMs let Beijingers deposit and withdraw digital yuan. In early June, authorities in Beijing launched a lottery that would allow residents of the capital to win 40 million e-yuan (~£4.5 million).

Now, it is the Beijing metro that is accessible via the Chinese digital currency. The pilot programme is available along 24 metro lines and at four stations.

To be able to pay in e-yuan, the customer must have an account at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. They must also download a mobile app tied to their bank account.

A threat to cryptocurrencies?

In a country like China, the development of a government-backed digital currency is bound to be a threat to cryptocurrencies.

The Chinese government does not hesitate to use all means to block projects and technologies that do not fit into its ideology. The intensive closures of BTC mining companies are one of the most glaring examples in recent weeks.

The digital yuan continues its rollout, while cryptocurrencies are increasingly outlawed by the Chinese government. The fact remains that the e-yuan is built on the model of conventional currencies and cannot present itself as a real competitor to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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Matthieu Palois avatar
Matthieu Palois

Mon intérêt pour les nouvelles technologies m’a téléporté dans l’univers blockchain. Dimension à la fois complexe et tellement vaste que mon cerveau a d’abord réagi en mode "Error 404" frôlant la faille spatio-temporelle avant que j’en comprenne peu à peu les codes. Le chemin est encore long avant d’obtenir le salut du dieu Crypto, mais en attendant j’en profite pour partager ma passion avec vous.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.

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