Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-sharing giant that bought Uber’s business in the country in 2016, is forming a task force to design and implement a trial of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) on its platform.
According to an announcement published by the firm, Didi signed an agreement with the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC’s) Digital Currency Research Institute to test the digital yuan, known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).
The announcement reads (roughly translated):
The digital economy has become an important engine driving the high-quality development of our economy, and the legal digital currency system will become an important infrastructure in the development of the digital economy.
Specific details on how the DCEP will be integrated and tested on Didi’s services are not yet clear. Some expect this to be the first real-world application of the central bank digital currency given Didi’s popularity.
The firm, backed by Softbank and Apple, had over 550 million users last year and serves 30 million rides per day on average. Didi already accepts other digital payment methods available in the country, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.
As CryptoGlobe reported, China has been developing its central bank digital currency since 2014 and started testing it earlier this year. The Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country’s four state-owned banking giants, released a mobile app supporting the digital currency that was available to users in Suzhou, Chengdu, Xiong’An, and Shenzhen.
As part of the tests, PBoC partnered with seven state-owned companies, including three telecom giants, to test DCEP payments. Restaurant giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks are reportedly also looking to enter the trial. An official launch date has not been released yet.