China’s efforts to develop a centralized digital currency accelerated sharply on Sunday when the State Agricultural Bank of China launched its first digital yuan automatic teller machine.

Customers of select subsidiary companies in Shenzhen have reportedly started using and converting the digital yuan from the Chinese red envelope lottery, which took home $ 3 million in the new currency for 100,000 locals.

Automated teller machines are said to allow digital deposits and withdrawals of yuan through a smartphone app and allow users to transfer cash and savings to and from the central bank’s digital currency.

The Agricultural Bank of China is one of the “Big Four” state-owned banks, which together represent the four largest banking institutions in the world. Zhou Hua, head of the bank’s Yuan Digital Innovation Lab, said the introduction of ATMs was part of an effort to ultimately lead citizens to digitalize cash.

“The Agricultural Bank has taken the lead in launching the ATM deposit and withdrawal feature in the industry to help Shenzhen residents adapt to digitalization of cash and explore the transformation of services,” he said.

Shenzen Daily reports that the Yuan’s rapid progress may indicate a widespread rollout within a year. However, the former governor of the People’s Bank of China in December rejected the idea that the digital yuan should replace international paper currencies, adding that China had taken a more cautious approach after witnessing global opposition to the Libra project on Facebook.

China is a pioneer in central bank digital currencies. The digital yuan is expected to become a cashless payment method in China’s smart cities in the coming years.

Source: CoinTelegraph