The Chinese central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) appears to have green-lighted a “hard wallet” smartphone-free pilot for its forthcoming digital yuan.
Per a Tencent news report, the pilot is being conducted in the staff cafeteria of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine’s Shanghai-based Tongren Hospital, where it began operating yesterday.
The report featured images of staff members at the hospital paying for food using the token, using a counter-top point-of-sale device and a card fitted with a digital display in the top right corner, showing how much money remains in the wallet.
#Digital Yuan officially used in Shanghai pilot. On January 5, a doctor in Shanghai is using the technology provide… https://t.co/G7almMK5aI
— Yang（Mengyan Finance） (@mengyan_yang)
Previous pilots of the token have made exclusive use of online and offline mobile phone-based wallets.
The media outlet claims that the wallet was developed using technology pioneered by the Postal Savings Bank of China, and reports of how a hospital staffer successfully paid for a meal using the “hard wallet,” later making a separate purchase of a cup of coffee.
The PBoC is keen to ensure that its digital yuan, which it has all but confirmed will be released before next year’s Winter Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing, can be used by non-smartphone users.
According to the Newzoo-compiled 2019 Global Mobile Market Report, China’s smartphone penetration is just under 60%, a factor that would place the digital yuan out of reach for many older and poorer Chinese citizens.
A third digital yuan giveaway is slated for early February to coincide with the nation’s Lunar New Year (February 12) festivities.
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