World in brief: Digital currencies

China and Facebook in race to be first to fill e-wallets

The World Today Published 5 February 2021 Updated 4 February 2021 2 minute READ

Nairomi Eriksson

Former Coordinator, Communications and Publishing

This is expected to be the year of the digital currency, with both the Chinese government and Facebook preparing to launch their own versions. 

In recent months, China has held a series of trial programmes in cities such as Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu. In pilot tests the Chinese authorities have distributed e-wallets through a lottery, with digital money for citizens to spend. 

Last October, 50,000 residents in Shenzhen, a technology centre known as China’s Silicon Valley and home to tech giants such as Huawei, were given a total of 10 million yuan (£1.1 million) to spend in local outlets. In a second round of testing in the city early this year the state issued 20 million yuan (£2.2 million) via an app. 

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