PBOC distributes digital currency to consumers via red envelope lottery

Consumers in the city of Shenzhen are being offered the opportunity to win one of 50,000 ‘red envelopes’ containing 200 digital yuan (US$29.65) that they can spend at any of more than 3,000 retail outlets in the city that now accept China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Peoples Bank of China logo

The 50,000 recipients will be randomly chosen from those who have signed up to participate in the CBDC pilot.

“Any individuals in China’s southern city of Shenzhen can apply to join the programme through the country’s Big Four banks,” Reuters reports.

“But only some will be awarded a 200-yuan ‘red envelope’ via [the] lottery, according to the local government and the lenders.

“The winners can use the digital currency in 3,389 retail outlets in Shenzhen, including Sinopec gas stations, Walmart stores, CR Vanguard malls and Shangri-La hotels.”

Red envelopes are traditionally given as gifts on Chinese holidays, such as Chinese New Year.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) selected Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an New District and Chengdu as initial locations for its digital currency pilot. It announced in August that it will next expand the pilot to major commercial centres and regions including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau.

More than 113,000 Chinese consumers have now used a digital wallet supporting “multiple payment methods, including barcode, facial recognition and tap-and-go transactions” to conduct a central bank digital currency transaction, the central bank revealed last week.

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