Customers at select branches within the Shenzen region have reportedly begun spending and converting the digital yuan they received as part of China’s “red envelope” lottery, which saw $3 million worth of the new currency gifted to 100,000 local citizens.
The Agricultural Bank of China is one of the country’s “big-four” state-owned banks, which collectively represent the four largest banking institutions in the world. Manager of the bank’s Digital Yuan Innovation Lab, Zou Hua, said the ATM rollout was part of efforts to guide citizens towards the eventual 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
Reports in the Shenzen Daily suggest that the accelerated progress of the digital yuan pilot could indicate a large-scale rollout within the year. However, in December, the former governor of the People’s Bank of China played down the notion that the digital yuan would replace international fiat currencies, adding that China had enacted a more cautious approach after witnessing the global pushback against Facebook’s Libra project.