A Chinese bank has launched the first digital yuan ATMs.
On Sunday, customers at select branches of the state-owned Agricultural Bank of China in the Shenzen region began spending and converting the digital yuan they received as part of China’s “red envelope” lottery, Cointelegraph and Coindesk report. About$3 million worth of the new currency was handed out to 100,000 residents.
Customers can use the ATMs to deposit and withdraw the digital yuan via a smartphone app and convert cash and savings to and from the central bank digital currency.
Zou Hua, the manager of the bank’s Digital Yuan Innovation Lab, said the ATMs would help people to adapt to the inevitable digitization of cash.
“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 digitization of cash and explore service transformation,” he said.
According to the Shenzen Daily, the rapid progress of the digital yuan pilot scheme could mean a large-scale rollout by the end of the year. However, in December 2020, Zhou Xiaochuan, a former governor of the People’s Bank of China, said it was unlikely that the digital yuan would replace international fiat currencies, adding that China would take a cautious approach because of the global pushback against Facebook’s Libra, now Diem, project, said the Cointelegraph report.