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e-CNY is available in Hangzhou now. It’s not another payment option, though you are pretty much likely to think so. Let’s take a close look at it:

  1. In terms of e-CNY, there are two concept: the e-CNY wallet App and the currency e-CNY. The former is what you see and the latter is what you don’t. The former is a payment method while the latter is not.
  2. Think the e-CNY wallet App as a digital version of your in-pocket wallet, not another Alipay account.
  3. The currency e-CNY is a counterpart of CNY cash, or I may say an invisible version of it. It’s a new type of currency. Yeah, now we have three types of fiat money in China: paper money, coins and e-CNY.
  4. Banks are the only way it goes to the public.
  5. The existing banking systems are designed for cash management. However, e-CNY totally is a new thing to them. It’s not at all compatible with saving, credit cards, loans, interest, etc.
  6. So there is little that banks can do after creating an e-CNY wallet account for you. They convert cash to e-CNY and save it in you e-CNY wallet. Then the money is almost out of their reach, just like cash taken from ATMs. Well, it is still under PBOC’s controll though.
  7. You see e-CNY and bank cards in Alipay and Wechat Pay. But what they do is only building bridges, giving you access to all accounts in just one App. xPays don’t controll the money, except in one condition: you are paying with the account balance. In that case, the internet giants pay for you with their own bank accounts, and then deduct the same amount from your balance.
  8. See the dash lines? If your e-CNY wallet stays at categroy 4, merchants won’t be able to know who they are trading with. It’s as anonymous as cash. Still, PBOC knows.
  9. There is also difference in terms of clearing. e-CNY doesn’t rely on China UnionPay. It’s another story.
  10. It makes no sense comparing e-CNY with Alipay. They are not at the same layer. It is the existing banking system that you should compare it with.



  1. 数字人民币涉及2个概念:数字人民币钱包App和数字人民币本身。前者看得见摸得着,后者无影无形。前者是一种支付方式,后者不是。
  2. 应该把数字人民币钱包App视作实体钱包的电子版,而不是另一个支付宝。
  3. 数字人民币是人民币现金的等价物,可以说它是一种无形版的现金。它是一种新的钱,没错,现在中国有3种法币了:纸币、硬币、数字人民币。
  4. 银行是数字人民币流通到公众的必经之路。
  5. 现有银行系统是为管理现金而设计的。但数字人民币对他们来说是全新事物,它与储蓄、信用卡、借贷、利息等系统完全不兼容。
  6. 所以,银行给你开设数字人民币账户之后,基本就做不了什么了。它们把现金转为数字人民币,存入你的数字人民币钱包,然后这些钱基本就超出它们管辖范围了,就像从ATM里取出来的现金。不过,它仍在央行的管理之下。
  7. 你在支付宝和微信支付里也能看到数字人民币和银行卡,但它们做的实际上只是建立了桥梁,让你可以在一个App里调动所有账户。支付宝们并不能控制这些账户里的资金,只有一种情况例外:你用账户余额支付。这种情况下,互联网巨头们用自己公司的银行账户替你付款,然后再等量从你余额里扣除掉。
  8. 看见图里虚线了吗?如果你的数字人民币钱包是4类账户,商家就无从知晓你的信息。这个匿名程度和现金等同,当然,央行还是能知道。
  9. 数字人民币在清算方面也有所不同,它不依赖银联。不过这个说来话长。
  10. 拿数字人民币与支付宝相比,没有任何意义,它们不在一个层面上。它的对手其实是现有的银行系统。