Eric Jing Xiandong, Chairman and CEO of the renowned fintech giant Ant Group, voiced his unwavering support for China’s sovereign digital currency, known as e-CNY, during his recent appearance at the “Inclusion Conference on the Bund” held in Shanghai, China’s financial hub. Speaking indirectly, Jing emphasized the potential transformative impact of e-CNY on the industrial internet, drawing parallels to the significance mobile payments held for the consumer internet.
According to reports from Chinese media, Jing outlined the distinctive feature of e-CNY, highlighting its programmability. He explained how this programmability facilitates seamless cross-chain communication between the payment blockchain and the business blockchain in the yuan clearing payment process. Jing asserted that this unique capability would enable parties involved to effortlessly execute contracts and automatic deliveries, ultimately leading to substantial synergy effects within the industry.
The People’s Bank of China initiated trials of e-CNY at the close of 2019. The selection of trial cities was based on various criteria, including major national development priorities, coordinated regional expansion strategies, and location-specific industrial and economic factors. Despite the expansion of these trials to numerous cities across China, the underlying technology supporting e-CNY has remained somewhat opaque. It’s worth noting that while digital yuan is not minted on a blockchain, it has been made compatible with cross-border initiatives like the mBridge with Hong Kong.
Mu Changchun, who heads the Digital Currency Research Institute, the central bank’s agency responsible for the development of digital yuan, addressed the issue of interoperability at an industry forum earlier this week. He urged mobile payment providers, including Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay and Ant’s Alipay, to collaborate on improving their interoperability and standardizing quick response (QR) codes for e-CNY payments. Although both applications currently support e-CNY payments, there is a lack of uniformity in the QR code schemes employed by various mobile payment providers.
The “Inclusion Conference,” now in its second iteration, is running until Saturday. This event was postponed for two years due to China’s stringent zero-Covid policies, which were only relaxed in December last year. Supported by the Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau and the People’s Government of Huangpu District in Shanghai, the conference serves as a platform for advancing discussions on financial technology and cutting-edge sciences. Distinguished attendees include Ding Kuiling, President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Michael Jordan, a prominent academic affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering in the United States.
In addition to his endorsement of e-CNY, Jing also touched upon Ant’s substantial investments in artificial intelligence (AI). It is noteworthy that AI is an area where virtually every major tech firm in China is currently directing considerable resources.
Eric Jing Xiandong’s pledge of support for e-CNY at the “Inclusion Conference on the Bund” underscores the growing importance of China’s sovereign digital currency in the financial and technological landscape. As trials expand and interoperability becomes a key focus, the impact of e-CNY on the industrial internet could indeed parallel the revolutionary influence that mobile payments exerted on the consumer internet.