China's capital city will hand out around $1.5 million in a small trial of the digital currency of the central bank, the municipal government announced this weekend.
That's the third major test of the digital currency under development by the People's Bank of China. The cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou have carried out similar studies in the last few months. In that trial, Beijing said that it would pick 50,000 from the pool of applicants to obtain 200 yuan, or around $30 each, in digital currency. Recipients may spend the money at designated offline locations or on parts of the JD.com, e-commerce site during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
The vouchers are available from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17. The digital currency test is only available to individuals with a Chinese ID number or residency permit from Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. The People's Bank of China has created a digital currency that is supposed to function in a similar way to transactions through existing payment apps. iMobile pay, mainly through the Alibaba affiiated Alipay App and Tencent's WeChat Pay, has replaced cash as the primary form of consumer payment in China over the last few years.