A 10 million yuan lottery held in the southern Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen to distribute the digital renminbi has attracted the participation of over 1.9 million people.
Shenzhen authorities announced on 11 October that a total of 1.913847 million people registered for the “Luohu Digital Renminbi Red Packet” (礼享罗湖数字人民币红包) lottery trial. 50,000 winners have been selected, each receiving a digital “red packet” containing 200 yuan (approx. USD$30) in China’s new central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The lottery was run on the weekend of 10 – 11 October via iShenzhen – a blockchain-driven public services platform operated by the Shenzhen municipal authorities, with winners claiming their “red packet” (the envelope traditionally used to gift money during Chinese New Year) via an official Digital Renminbi App made accessible via a link sent to them directly.
The money in the app cannot be transferred to other individuals or into standard bank accounts, but can only be used to make purchases during the period from 12 – 18 October at 3,389 select retailers in the Luohu District, in a bid by local authorities to spur consumption in the wake of COVID-19.
The Chinese central bank announced in April 2020 that it had commenced trials of the CBDC in four cities around China including Shenzhen, Suzhou Xiong’an and Chengdu, following a five year research and development period that kicked off in 2014.
Authorities have yet to provide a firm date for official release however, despite announcing in September that the “conditions are ready for deployment.”