China’s second-largest online retailer JD.com (NASDAQ: JD) has become the country’s first e-commerce platform to accept the digital yuan, a cryptocurrency supported by China’s central bank. JD Digits, the company’s fintech branch, will launch a pilot program later this month.
Under the flagship program, customers will pay for specified items using the digital yuan. The e-commerce giant has set aside about 100,000 digital cash vouchers worth 20 million yuan. The coupons will be issued to Suzhou city residents as of December 11.
The Suzhou lottery will begin on December 12, during a shopping festival known as “Double 12”. It will trial the functionality of the digital yuan, including offline (phone-to-phone) payments.
The Suzhou approach is the second to be replicated in China. Initially, the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected consumers in Shenzhen.
JD.com shares projected to hit $100
The development comes as analysts predict that JD.com’s (NASDAQ: JD) shares will hit news highs of surpassing $100 U.S. dollars per share. The e-commerce platform has been gaining attention in both emerging and developed markets.
JD.com has stood out due to its aggressive approach of coming up with the necessary tools to aid customers who have been shifting to online shopping. The company has invested heavily in technologies and infrastructure, which resulted in record revenue during the third quarter.
This year, JD.com stock price has soared by almost 144% mainly due to changing consumer behavior as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Notably, the initiative by JD.com will contribute to promoting the development of digital and real economies through the use of digital yuan.
Among Central bank-issued cryptocurrencies, the digital yuan is the most advanced. Globally, authorities have accelerated research into similar projects. Notably, the fears of privates currencies like Facebook Libra are pushing governments into action.