The Chinese central bank is issuing more tests for its digital yuan, this time offering Beijing residents the chance to nab RMB 200 (USD 31) for free in yet another pilot project that will hand out a total of RMB 10 million (USD 1.4 million).
Also known as e-CNY, the digital currency has been doled out in similar drives in Shenzhen and Suzhou.
Beijing residents can take part in the digital yuan’s red packet lottery via the apps of JD.com or Jingxi, a group-buying portal owned by JD.com.
The lucky draw is called “Digital Wongfujing Winter Wonderland Shopping Festival,” and is organized by the government of Beijing’s Dongcheng district, where the shopping street Wongfujing is located. Promotional materials posted on WeChat by the Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration link the lucky draw with the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, encouraging consumption in winter sports gear.
“This is a routine test for the research and development of the digital yuan,” said the administration, adding that the city will conduct more trials that carry the theme of the 2022 Winter Olympics in order to establish confidence for the payment channel by the time the event is held.
In all, 50,000 digital red packets will be issued. Beijing has a population of 21 million, making the chance of winning extremely slim.
The people who are randomly selected to spend 200 yuan electronically will be notified on Tuesday. They then have one week—February 10 to 17—to spend the contents of their red packet, which cannot be transferred to their bank accounts or exchanged for cold cash.
e-CNY can be spent at 20 locations, including Huangfujing Department Store and PuXuan Hotel, using the currency’s official app. Digital yuan can also be spent online, as long as a user connects their e-CNY wallet with their JD.com or Jingxi app.
Previously, the pilot scheme in Shenzhen handed out RMB 10 million in October, followed by another trial involving RMB 20 million in Suzhou in December.