China’s official digital currency is now usable in some places. Media companies reported that JD.com is currently accepting the digital yuan for some purchases at its site, making it the first online company to accept the virtual money.
You’ll need to have received the currency as part of a lottery-style experimental giveaway to residents of Suzhou; close to Shanghai, but it’s a big step toward normalizing the format.
The move follows another lottery for citizens in Shenzhen. Tests started in April 2019, when you could use the currency in physical stores.
Unlike ‘conventional’ cryptocurrencies, a central bank controls digital yuan. In this instance, the People’s Bank of China is in control. The development will give China more economical power and, in theory, more stability than frequently volatile formats like bitcoin.
China can do more to embrace a cash-free society without leaning on foreign technology.
China won’t be alone as countries like Japan and Venezuela are either exploring or using their own digital currencies. This move could put China ahead in real-world use, though, and might fuel other countries’ efforts to develop virtual cash as well.