The city government of Beijing will be holding a lottery this month to award free e-wallets containing 200 digital yuan (~RM129) to winners as part of the country’s trials of its digital currency.
Predictably, the prizes will take the form of ang pows, which will be given out to 200,000 winners. Use of the prize money requires downloading an app and is confined to designated merchants around Beijing, Reuters said citing a city government notice.
Registration for the lottery starts on 6 June, with winners announced a few days later. However, the prize money must be spent by 20 June – not a lot of time, but it’s not a lot of money too.
More importantly though, China is eager to launch its digital currency as the rising superpower pushes international acceptance of the yuan against a global banking system dominated by the US dollar.
The country has already trialled its digital yuan in some major cities including Shenzhen and Shanghai – a trial in Shenzhen last January distributed 20 million yuan. Authorities are also working on allowing foreign athletes and visitors to try the digital currency during next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
Relatedly, the UK is also exploring the launch of its own CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) dubbed “Britcoin” as financial authorities there have taken a dim view of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.