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China's latest Web3 strides: From digital Yuan payment in metros to Beijing metaverse development plan

China's latest Web3 strides: From digital Yuan payment in metros to Beijing metaverse development plan

China's latest Web3 strides: From digital Yuan payment in metros to Beijing metaverse development plan
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By CNBCTV18.com Aug 25, 2022 9:42:17 PM IST (Published)

The push to increase mainstream adoption and utility of the digital yuan has become very evident. The Chinese government has even partnered with food-delivery giant Meituan and e-commerce platform JD.com to integrate e-CNY payments.

China is making significant strides in the digital asset and metaverse space. On August 23, it was revealed that Ningbo, a city in China's Northeast Zhejiang Province, would start accepting the digital yuan (e-CNY) at its 125 metro stations as part of a pilot program.

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All of the city's 9.5 million citizens can now avail the facility by simply linking their e-CNY wallets to the subway system's dedicated app. Once they have done this, commuters need to scan the QR code at the ticketing counter, and the fee will automatically be deducted. Further, as part of the pilot program's promotional offer, a random selection of citizens would receive subway rides for as little as 1 penny until September 4.
As per an article by Changjiang Daily, a local news agency, Ningbo is the ninth city in China to accept e-CNY payments for public transportation. Guangzhou is another major city in China that has begun accepting the digital yuan in a big way. Along with Ningbo, it has started to accept CBDC payments for public bus rides across ten transit routes, a first for the country, as per an article by CoinTelegraph.
In May, Guangzhou also began accepting digital yuan on city tram rides. And at the same time, Xiamen city allowed its citizens to recharge their public transport cards using the e-CNY.
The push to increase mainstream adoption and utility of the digital yuan has become very evident. The Chinese government has even partnered with food-delivery giant Meituan and e-commerce platform JD.com to integrate e-CNY payments. The ploy seems to be working, with 830 billion ($121.4 billion) worth of e-CNY transactions being recorded during the first five months of 2022.
Besides the digital yuan, China is also looking to augment its Web3 initiatives. Yesterday, Beijing announced a two-year Metaverse innovation and development plan, which will run from 2022 to 2024. The drive requires all municipalities within China's capital to track and integrate NFT and metaverse trends into the education and tourism sectors.
The main goal of the development plan is to drive the growth of the internet toward Web3 and position Beijing as a benchmark city for the digital economy. As per the official document, the plan also calls for the development of a Metaverse theme park and lifestyle centre. Last year, Shanghai also announced a similar Metaverse development plan, which calls for the use of Web3 in the entertainment, public services, business, and industrial manufacturing sectors.
These developments are surprising given China's tough stance on the digital assets industry. In 2021, the government banned crypto mining, forcing the nascent industry to shift base, with a majority of miners moving to Kazakhstan and the US. Later on, the Chinese government also went on to issue regressive monetary policies for NFTs. This caused Tencent to shut down one of its NFT platforms and Alibaba to hide all mentions of its NFT marketplace, just hours after its launch.
However, any government adoption of digital assets and the Web3 is a positive sign for the cryptosphere. Perhaps, it will cause a domino effect, bringing other countries into the digital asset fold and boosting mainstream adoption of virtual currencies and experiences.
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