In a groundbreaking move that could reverberate through the international oil market, PetroChina has etched its name in history. On October 18, the energy giant became the first company to successfully complete an international crude oil trade using China's Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the Digital Yuan. This transaction marks a significant milestone, shedding light on the expanding role of digital currencies in global commerce.
PetroChina, a major player in the world of oil and gas, secured a staggering 1 million barrels of crude oil using the Digital Yuan at the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange (SHPGX). While the exact figures and the seller's identity remain shrouded in secrecy, this deal signifies a transformative moment in the realm of Central Bank Digital Currencies. China has been actively exploring the internationalization of its currency, the renminbi, and deploying the Digital Yuan in substantial global commodities, such as crude oil, could be a key strategic move in that direction.
As of June, the trading volume of the Digital Yuan stood at an impressive 1.8 trillion yuan (approximately $250 billion), accounting for 0.16% of the total cash in circulation, according to data disclosed earlier this year.
When it comes to Central Bank Digital Currencies, China is a frontrunner, not just in theory but in practice. While many major economies are exploring the development of their own digital currencies, China has taken the lead in implementing its CBDC. Even more impressively, the Digital Yuan's former governor revealed that by July 2023, the total transaction count had already reached a staggering 950 million. Furthermore, the Chinese government has enriched its Digital Yuan by incorporating smart contract capabilities, significantly broadening its applications. Although the Digital Yuan initially focused on domestic use, it's increasingly attracting interest for cross-border transactions, signaling its readiness for an even more expansive role in the global economy.