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Hong Kong debuts China’s digital yuan pilot, prohibits peer-to-peer transfers

hong-kong-debuts-chinas-digital-yuan-pilot-prohibits-peer-to-peer-transfers
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Hong Kong debuts China’s digital yuan pilot, prohibits peer-to-peer transfers

China’s central bank digital currency is now available in Hong Kong, as Beijing is pushing hard to digitize its economy.

China has started its first pilot outside the mainland, with digital yuan now available in Hong Kong‘s local shops, according to a press release from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). The digital yuan — also known as e-CNY — is now undergoing a pilot for cross-boundary payments.

Currently, the use of e-CNY is limited to Hong Kong residents, allowing them to top up digital wallets with up to 10,000 CNY (approximately $1,385) through 17 retail banks in Hong Kong, including Standard Chartered Bank, ZA Bank, and DBS Bank.

According to e-CNY’s user guide published by HKMA, the application is available for download in both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The city’s regulator says the e-CNY wallets can be used for cross-boundary payments only, excluding person-to-person transfers during the pilot.

HKMA head Eddie Yue says Hong Kong will continue to work closely with the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, to “gradually expand the applications of e-CNY, enrich the range of functionalities of the e-CNY wallet available to Hong Kong residents and step up efforts in promoting the acceptance of e-CNY by more retail merchants in the two places.”

Meanwhile, policymakers in the U.S. are trying to bar U.S. financial service operators from interacting with China’s digital currency. Senator Rick Scott in early November 2023 introduced the so-called Chinese CBDC Prohibition Act, which would ban U.S. post offices, remittance firms, peer-to-peer crowdfunding platforming, and all money services businesses from facilitating any transaction that involves China’s digital yuan.