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China to give away over $6mn in digital currency during Lunar New Year in massive e-yuan trials

As China gets ready to celebrate one of its biggest holidays, the Lunar New Year, authorities in Beijing and Suzhou are handing out 40 million yuan ($6.2 million) in another public lottery as part of digital currency tests.

The two cities are reportedly planning to distribute 200,000 red packets – each worth 200 yuan (nearly $31) – starting on Wednesday, February 10, the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve. Red packets, or envelopes, containing money are a form of a traditional gift in China. They have also long been used in the digital space, as Chinese tech companies made it possible to send money using red packets via apps.




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Some 50,000 lucky winners will be selected in Beijing as part of the routine trials of China’s sovereign digital currency, the local government announced over the weekend. It added that the 10-million-yuan ($1.5 million) lottery is being held as the city gets ready to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. The winners will be able to spend their vouchers during the week commencing February 10 at more than 100 stores in the Wangfujing commercial area, or online via popular platform JD.com.

Meanwhile, the government in the city of Suzhou is planning to hand out 150,000 red packets, worth 30 million yuan ($4.6 million). The lottery is reportedly sponsored by JD.com, but the winners will be able to spend the money until February 26 in both online and physical shops. More than 10,000 businesses are expected to accept the digital yuan during the trial, according to the South China Morning Post.




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The massive New Year lottery will be even bigger than the previous one held in the two cities. In December, some 20 million yuan were distributed in the same way in Suzhou, while Beijing had a small-scale digital yuan trial at the subway station in Beijing Daxing International Airport.

China has been ramping up pilot tests of its digital currency, officially known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). According to Chinese media calculations, the trials now total around 110 million yuan ($17 million) and are expected to cover more venues and cities in 2021.

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