Digital Currency Research Institute of PBC and Ant Group Cooperate to Build Digital RMB Platform

Ant Group’s exhibition stand at the 4th Digital China Summit. (Source: Ant Group)

Ant Group and the Digital Currency Research Institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBC) signed a strategic cooperation agreement last year to jointly promote the construction of a digital RMB technology platform, China News reported during the 4th Digital China Summit held on April 25.

The platform is structured on the distributed database OceanBase and the mobile development platform mPaaS. OceanBase is the world’s first distributed database independently developed by Ant Group and applied to financial core business. MPaaS originates from Alipay’s mobile development platform, which Ant Group claims can provide one-stop solutions based on mobile development, testing and operation.

Ant Group will continue to consolidate in-depth exchanges and cooperation with the research institute in the technical field, and jointly promote the application of new technologies in digital upgrading to serve the real economy.

Recently, the PBC has accelerated its research and development regarding digital currency, and has even tested various pilot projects in local settings across the country.

On April 12, Li Bin, director of the Macroprudential Policy Bureau of the PBC, revealed that digital the RMB was being piloted in ten cities, as well as the site of Beijing Olympic Winter Games. On April 18, Li Bo, deputy governor of PBC, disclosed that they will build an ecosystem of digital RMB infrastructure, while also improving the security and reliability of the system.

In 2014, PBC set up a special team to conduct research on the distribution framework, key technologies, distribution and circulation environment for digital currency.

Ant Group has participated in several of the digital RMB pilot projects. According to the firm, MY Bank – one of the digital RMB operators – has participated in the research and development of digital RMB since 2017, and has been piloted in Hema, RT Mart, Tmall Supermarket, Hello Bicycle and Shanghai Bus.

In the second May 5 Shopping Festival in Shanghai, in addition to six state-owned banks, the MY Bank will carry out digital RMB pilot projects whose participants can use digital RMB to pay offline and online through Alipay.

It’s worth mentioning that JD.com was the first tech company that made strategic cooperation with Digital Cash Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China. Relying on JD Cloud, a technical service brand for enterprises, governments and other institutions, they jointly promoted the innovation of mobile application functions of digital RMB from September 2020.

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In January, JD.com began to carry out digital RMB payroll in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Changsha and Xi’an. Employees residing in these locations can deposit the digital wages in their personal credit cards or spend them at JD.com and offline institutions that accepted digital RMB.

JD.com has also used digital RMB to make inter-bank payments to its two suppliers since January. Through cooperating closely with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), JD Technology quickly push forward the application of digital RMB payroll which further expanded the application range of digital currency.