How the Digital Yuan Works: A Beginner’s Guide

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The digital yuan is a groundbreaking development in China’s monetary system, which aims to provide a secure, convenient, and efficient way for people to exchange value and participate in the digital economy. This guide provides a beginner’s overview of the basics of Digital Yuan, and also the technology behind it. If you want to learn more interesting facts about Digital Yuan, you can click here.

The Basics of the Digital Yuan

The digital yuan is China’s official digital currency that is issued and regulated by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank. It is also known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). Unlike physical yuan, which is issued as banknotes and coins, the digital yuan exists purely in digital form and can be used for electronic transactions.

The digital yuan is designed to be a legal tender that is accepted by all merchants and individuals in China. It is not a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, as it is not decentralized and does not use a public blockchain. Instead, the digital yuan is a centralized digital currency that is backed by the PBOC and operates on a two-tier system, where the central bank issues digital yuan to commercial banks, which in turn distribute it to their customers.

To use the digital yuan, individuals and businesses need to open a digital wallet that is linked to their bank account or mobile phone number. They can then transfer digital yuan between their wallet and other users’ wallets, make payments to merchants who accept digital yuan, and withdraw digital yuan as physical cash from designated ATMs.

The digital yuan is designed to provide several advantages over physical yuan and other digital payment methods. For example, it can reduce the reliance on physical cash, increase financial inclusion for people who lack access to traditional banking services, and enhance the efficiency and security of transactions. 

However, the digital yuan also raises some concerns and challenges. For instance, it may pose risks to privacy and security if the government uses it to monitor citizens’ transactions and behaviors. It may also disrupt the existing financial system and competition among payment providers, as well as raise questions about cross-border payments and international regulations.

The Technology behind the Digital Yuan

The digital yuan uses blockchain technology to record and verify transactions, but it is not a typical cryptocurrency that operates on a public blockchain. Instead, the digital yuan uses a permissioned blockchain, which means that only authorized nodes can participate in the consensus process and maintain the ledger. This allows the PBOC to retain control over the issuance and circulation of the digital yuan and prevent unauthorized access or manipulation.

The digital yuan blockchain is based on a unique architecture called the “central bank-commercial bank two-tier operating system”. This system consists of two layers of accounts, with the central bank having the sole authority to issue digital yuan to commercial banks, and commercial banks acting as intermediaries to distribute the digital yuan to their customers.

The digital yuan blockchain uses a combination of cryptographic techniques, such as public-key encryption and digital signatures, to ensure the authenticity, integrity, and confidentiality of transactions. Each digital yuan has a unique identifier and is traceable on the blockchain, which enables the PBOC to monitor the flow of digital yuan and prevent illicit activities such as money laundering or terrorism financing.

The digital yuan blockchain also employs a “controllable anonymity” feature, which allows users to transact with each other without revealing their real identity to third parties, while still providing traceability and accountability to the PBOC. This feature uses a complex algorithm to generate pseudonyms for users, and the pseudonyms can be linked to the users’ real identities only by authorized entities in certain circumstances, such as for law enforcement or anti-fraud purposes.

The digital yuan technology is still evolving and undergoing trials and tests in various regions of China. It faces some technical challenges and scalability issues, such as how to handle large-scale transactions and ensure interoperability with other payment systems. However, the digital yuan has the potential to transform the way people exchange value and interact with the financial system, and may serve as a model for other countries that are exploring digital currencies.


The digital yuan is still in its early stages of adoption and implementation, but it represents a significant step towards a cashless and digital future. Its success will depend on various factors, such as user acceptance, technological advancements, regulatory frameworks, and geopolitical dynamics. However, the digital yuan has the potential to transform the way we think about money and finance, and to create new opportunities and challenges for individuals, businesses, and governments.