Standard Chartered, a British multinational bank, is set to offer exchange services for China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan. This makes Standard Chartered one of the first foreign banks to engage in trials of China’s digital currency.
The bank’s China division is collaborating with City Bank Clearing Services to provide customers with access to the digital yuan’s interconnection platform, allowing for recharge and redemption. This will enable its clients to purchase, exchange, and redeem e-CNY within their bank accounts. The bank is reportedly focusing on areas such as cross-border merchant payments, trade financing, and supply chain financing as part of the pilot testing program, which is currently active in 26 cities and provinces across China.
China’s e-CNY (electronic Chinese Yuan) has gained notable adoption, and global banks are increasingly expressing interest in exploring the use cases and potential integration of digital currency. Standard Chartered’s move follows the broader trend of major economies worldwide initiating digital currency programs.
Visa recently announced that it had completed the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s CBDC pilot program with leading financial institutions, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank. This pilot was part of the “Digital Hong Kong Dollar” program organized by the HKMA, which was initiated earlier this year in May and was the first use case globally to utilize tokenized deposits for interbank B2B self-transactions and cross-chain transactions.
Standard Chartered’s integration of the digital yuan reflects the commitment of global banks to embrace digital currencies. Virtually every major economy worldwide has initiated a digital currency program. Nevertheless, China’s e-CNY has stood out with notable adoption over the past year.
The bank has expressed optimism about the development prospects of the digital renminbi, emphasizing its deep roots in the Chinese market over the past 165 years. The digital yuan is currently being used for various public services, including transportation in specific districts.
Standard Chartered’s participation in offering exchange services for China’s digital yuan builds upon its previous involvement in exploring CBDCs. Last year, the bank took part in the “Multilateral Central Bank Digital Currency Bridge” proof-of-concept test project in Hong Kong, focusing on cross-border payment settlement services for both retail and enterprise clients. Additionally, in May 2023, Standard Chartered, in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers China, released a report titled “Central Bank Digital Currency to Create a Future Banking Ecosystem.” The report delved into the potential applications of CBDCs in retail, trade, and supply chain finance.
China’s central bank has been actively promoting the adoption of its digital yuan, also known as e-CNY. A Chinese state-owned bank has announced plans to connect the digital yuan to the “world’s biggest small commodities market,” a move that could potentially boost the adoption of China’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Standard Chartered’s engagement in these initiatives showcases the ongoing collaboration between global financial institutions and China’s efforts to advance its digital currency ecosystem.