A total of 20 million yuan ($3 million) will be up for grabs in a lottery, according to a WeChat post by JD Digits, JD.com’s fintech arm. Winners will receive a so-called “red packet” via an app containing a maximum of 200 yuan of the digital currency. A hundred thousand of these red packets will be distributed.
Those who receive the digital yuan can spend it on JD.com’s online shopping platform. This is not the first time that China is handing out a large sum of its digital currency. In October, a total of 10 million yuan was handed out to citizens in China’s technology hub Shenzhen in a lottery.
The digital yuan, which is controlled and issued by the People’s Bank of China, is what’s known as a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The central bank calls its project the Digital Currency Electronic Payment or DCEP, though it has remained quite tight-lipped about its development. Central bank digital currencies are unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, or even the Facebook-backed digital coin Libra. That’s because they are controlled and issued by a central bank.