HERE IS A good chance that the digital yuan will enter circulation in 2021. It is a debut that will initially make little difference, but could, over time, change the way central banks conduct monetary policy.
The People’s Bank of China has filed more than 100 patent applications for a digital currency and has overseen a range of trials, putting the e-yuan into use in a few cities and on several apps. So far the experiments have gone smoothly, and soon people will have the option of downloading a government-issued digital wallet. Unlike commercial ones such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, the official version will be equivalent to an account at the central bank with the same solidity as hard cash.