Digital yuan ATMs launched by state-owned bank

11 Jan 2021

China’s move to develop a centrally-issued digital currency have progressed, as the Agricultural Bank of China launches the first digital yuan ATMs.

Customers at certain branches of the state-owned bank in the Shenzen region have started to spend and convert the digital yuan they received within the country’s so-called “red envelope” lottery, Coin Telegraph reports. 

Within the initiative, $3m worth of the new digital currency was given to 100,000 local citizens.

The ATMs allegedly permit users to deposit and withdraw digital yuan through a smartphone app, allowing them to convert cash and savings to and from the central bank digital currency.
The Agricultural Bank of China is one of the country’s “big-four” government-owned banks, which represent the four largest banking institutions in the world. 
The manager of the bank’s Digital Yuan Innovation Lab, Zou Hua, said the rollout of the digital yuan ATMs was part of a move to guide people towards the inevitable digitisation of cash.
He commented: “Agricultural Bank has taken the lead in launching the ATM cash deposit and withdrawal function in the industry to guide Shenzhen residents to adapt to the digitisation of cash and explore service transformation.”
According to reports in the Shenzen Daily, the development of digital yuan testing could signal a large-scale rollout this year.
That said, last month the ex-governor of the People’s Bank of China played down the idea that the digital yuan would supersede global fiat currencies, going on to add that China has taken a more prudent stance after the pushback against Facebook's Libra project.
However, China is widely viewed as a forerunner in regard to central bank digital currencies. The digital yuan is predicted to act as the cashless payment method within the country’s “smart cities” in years to come.