China’s Digital Yuan Comes With An Expiration Date

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Zero Hedge: It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s almost here.

 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Rev. 13:17 KJV

Last August we reported that China’s Commerce Ministry had released fresh details of a pilot program for the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) to be expanded to several metropolitan areas, including Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and Yangtze River Delta region. This was the inevitable culmination of a process which started back in 2014 when as we reported at the time, “China Readies Digital Currency, IMF Says “Extremely Beneficial“.

Fast forward a few months when China’s preparations to rollout a digital yuan gathered pace, and we reported in October that China was poised to give legal backing to the launch of its own sovereign digital currency, “cementing its trailblazer status in virtual currencies far ahead of other countries, after already recently experimenting with large-scale trials of actual payments by consumers, which was met with mixed results.” Specifically, the South China Morning Post reported that “The People’s Bank of China published a draft law on Friday that would give legal status to the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) system, and for the first time the digital yuan has been included and defined as part of the country’s sovereign fiat currency.”

The design framework for the digital yuan had been released one year ago on the heels of Facebook’s ambitious but disastrous Libra token rollout after founding corporate partners split for lack of confidence in the project and on fears US federal regulators would seek to block it just as they did encrypted-messaging company Telegram’s Gram cryptocurrency.

“The draft law would also forbid any party from making or issuing yuan-backed digital tokens to replace the renminbi in the market,” the SCMP said.

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This in turn brought us to the so-called “Shenzhen case study”  when in October of 2020China became the first nation to hold a trial run of its digital currency, when the government in Shenzhen carried out a lottery to give away a total of 10 million yuan (about $1.5 million) worth of the digital currency (nearly 2 million people applied and 50,000 people actually “won”).

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The winners were required to download a digital Renminbi app in order to receive a “red packet” worth 200 digital yuan ($30), which they can then spend at over 3,000 designated retailers in Shenzhen’s Luohu district, according to China Daily. After that, they’ll be able to buy goods from local pharmacies, supermarkets and even Walmart.

The idea was to not only test the technology involved, but boost consumer spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, China is not only subsidizing the centrally-planned economy by manipulating the supply-side of the question- it now can prop up demand by handing out digital currency to anyone (or everyone).

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