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China launches hardware wallet for Digital Yuan in Xiong’an

The development of the hardware wallet in Xiong’an is part of the plan to accelerate the construction of a smart new city in Xiong’an New District in 2021 

Authorities from China’s Xiong’an New Area announced on Saturday that the Xiong’an branch of the Agricultural Bank of China in Hebei has successfully produced the country’s first hardware wallet for its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the Digital Yuan.  This development marks a crucial milestone for China in achieving its aspirations for the adoption of the Digital Yuan.

Hardware wallets are devices used to securely store an individual’s private key and hence their cryptocurrency in a hardware device.

These devices  require private keys, which are often stored in a protected area of a microcontroller, and cannot be transferred from the device due to its encryption. The device is also immune to computer viruses and protects the private key from potentially-vulnerable software.

Developed by the Party Working Committee of the Xiongan New Area and the People’s Bank of China branch in Shijiazhuang, the Digital Yuan’s hardware wallet is the first-ever hardware device created to securely store CBDCs.

The new hardware wallet supports dual offline payments without an internet connection to ensure that the CBDC is feasible for use in all circumstances and crises. In fact, even the Digital Yuan wallet has been designed to enable operation without a mobile phone for this very reason, the announcement explained.

Xiong’an is part of one of the urban districts that are granted special economic development by the central government in China in order to spark innovation. Such zones are divided into state, provincial and prefecture levels. Xiong’an is a state-level new area.

The timing of the announcement of the new hardware wallet for the Digital Yuan, comes in conjunction with the upcoming New Year holidays in China. This is no accident as the holidays are expected to offer opportunities for local residents to test and use the hardware wallet. The device is reportedly going to allow users to send monetary gifts to their family members and friends to express their New Year’s wishes, a common tradition in China.

China’s digital yuan is anticipated to be the first digital version of a currency issued by a major central bank. Along with advantages in security and tracking of transactions, the CBDC will also represent a revolution in the way currencies will function, bringing an ever-growing number of people onto a digital banking platform.

Xiong’an was one of the four regions to pilot the Digital Yuan in April 2020. The launch of the hardware wallet is part of China’s larger plan to accelerate the construction of a smart new city in Xiong’an New District in 2021.

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