Moving aggressively towards its government-backed digital currency plans, the Chinese central bank has now roped in cab aggregator Didi, as one of the first adopters and test companies for the upcoming ‘Digital Yuam’ cryptocurrency. The company has partnered with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China to test the ‘Digital Yuan’, China’s latest effort towards a cash free economy.

The bank started developing this cryptocurrency back in 2014, and started testing it just a few months back. However, this will be one of the very first real world applications of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), making Didi one of the first corporate companies to partner with a government backed cryptocurrency.

“A few days ago, the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China and Didi Travel officially reached a strategic cooperation agreement to jointly study and explore the innovation and application of digital RMB in the field of smart travel. Both parties look forward to establishing a cooperative relationship, giving play to their respective advantages, and promoting the digital ecological platform construction of the platform in a diversified travel scenario to achieve complementary advantages and win-win cooperation,” the company said, announcing the alliance with the PBoC.

The idea of a digital currency was stumbled upon when the government was trying to reduce its dependence upon physical modes of transaction, eliminating the overhead of printing and distributing money. As the company began testing a few months ago, Didi Chuxing, a platform that already supports multiple digital payments platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay, was an obvious contender, due to its ‘ready to go’ infrastructure.

Moreover, Didi too realises the opportunity that a partnership with PBoC can provide, and is thus nothing but praises for the institution. Thus, the company also went on to add that, “…the People’s Bank of China established the Digital Currency Research Institute, and has continuously achieved new results in the research and development of legal digital currencies.”

“The digital economy has become an important engine driving the high-quality development of my country’s economy, and the legal digital currency system will become an important infrastructure in the development of the digital economy,” Didi said, highlighting the importance of the move.

Didi Chuxing said that under the guidance of relevant departments, it will cooperate with the People’s Bank of China Digital Currency Research Institute to strictly implement the guidelines proposed by the Party Central Committee and the State Council to improve the ability of financial services to the real economy, and promote the integrated development of the digital economy and the real economy.

Companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Subway are also eying the cryptocurrency platform (reportedly), and customers in China might soon be able to buy a Frappucino using DCEP.