The digital yuan is increasingly going global: A cross-border transaction with Hong Kong was completed last week, and trials for the e-CNY opened in the territory. Domestically, three more companies were added on the digital RMB app, while a university started testing different payment methods using the currency. An established auction house announced it will start selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs), while non-crypto companies continue to pivot to cryptocurrency mining.
The world of blockchain moves fast, and nowhere does it move faster than in China. Here’s what you need to know about China’s block-world in the week of March 30-April 6.
The digital yuan arrives in Hong Kong
- The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) completed the first cross-border transaction with Hong Kong using the e-CNY in collaboration with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Wang Xin, the head of the PBOC’s research department said in a press conference on April 1. (Sina Finance, in Chinese)
- The next day, Hong Kong media reported that the PBOC opened e-CNY trials for residents of Hong Kong. The project is a collaboration between the Shenzhen city government, the central bank’s Shenzhen branch, and Bank of China. (The Asset)
- The rhetoric over China having a lead over the US by issuing a central bank-backed digital currency first is “overblown,” said Agustín Carstens, the general manager for the Bank of International Settlements. (CoinDesk)
- Soaring Bitcoin prices could be driving up interest in the digital yuan, said Xin. (CNBC)
The digital yuan at home
- Renmin Univeristy in Beijing launched a trial of the digital yuan. Students and teachers can sign up to be whitelisted for the trial through the e-CNY wallet app. If selected, they can use it to pay for items in the university canteen, laundry, and other on-campus facilities. QR codes and facial recognition can be used for payment, local media reported. (Payments Encyclopedia, in Chinese)
- Three Chinese companies were added on the digital RMB app: logistics company SF Express, state-owned petrol giant Sinopec, and EV-charging station provider Star Charge. Users can now pay for their services on the app. Meituan, Bilibili, JD.com, and Didi were already listed on the e-CNY app. (Mobile Payments Network)
READ MORE: UPDATED: We got some digital yuan!
- Fine art auction house Yongle is joining the NFT market, Xu Zhao, founder and CEO of the company said in an interview. Xu said he wants Yongle to keep up with new financial models, and not be left behind Christie’s and Sotheby’s, which have already famously sold NFTs. (Artron)
- TechNode reviewed the world’s first major crypto art exhibition in Beijing: “It’s an art gallery as a carnival, complete with a claw game for souvenirs, rather than gallery-as-high-culture-church.” (TechNode)
Red Date Technology, the company behind the Blockchain Services Network, has acquired the rights to sell Corda, an enterprise blockchain used by global financial firms, to Chinese businesses. This is the first time Red Date has acquired the rights to sell blockchain domestically, as the company is increasingly angling to become a major domestic blockchain player. (TechNode)
The pivots to crypto
- New York-based software firm FutureFinTech bought Chinese crypto mining farm Nanjing Ribensi Electronic Technology for $9 million. (CoinDesk)
- The9, a Nasdaq-listed gaming company based in Shanghai, has agreed to sell $125 million worth of American Depositary Shares to Maxim Group, a New York-based investment bank. In the last year, The9 is pivoting from gaming to crypto mining. (The9 press release)
- 500.com, a Shenzhen online lottery company that has ventured into crypto mining, acquired Bee Computing, a small mining hardware manufacturer. (500.com press release)
The smuggled mining equipment
The Hong Kong Coast Guard seized 300 graphics processing units specialized for mining cryptocurrencies in an anti-smuggling operation. This is the first time local authorities have caught smugglers in the act of transporting crypto mining equipment. (IT House, in Chinese)