By Staff Writer
China is going full speed to launch its digital currency, if reports from Chinese local media are to be believed.
While there is no official word on the exact date of the launch of what purportedly would be the world’s first sovereign-backed digital currency, and several previous such rumors have been denied by the authorities, local media reports say that Beijing is close to unveiling its yuan-pegged Chinese Digital Currency or Electronic Payments System (DCEP).
Huang Qifan, vice chairman of the China International Economic Exchange Center (CIEE), reiterated on Monday that the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) remains committed to being the first in the world to roll out a national digital currency.
He made the statement at the Bund Financial Summit 2019 in Shanghai.
“The significance of Digital Currency Electronic Payment lies in that it’s not the digitization of existing currency, but the replacement of Reserve Money (M0),” Huang said. “It greatly reduces the dependence of the trading process on accounts, which is conducive to the circulation and internationalization of the Renminbi.”
Huang said that the PBoC has been working on DCEP for five to six years now and he is fully confident that it is ever so close to being introduced in the country’s financial system.
His statement came after another top Chinese official, Li Wei, head of the People’s Bank of China’s technology department, said that time has come for Chinese commercial banks to integrate blockchain technology into their day-to-day operations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping also said last week that China should seize the opportunities afforded by blockchain, a piece of news that had been interpreted as bullish by Bitcoin enthusiasts and sent the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency skyrocketing (see here and here).
In his speech, Huang expressed his displeasure with Facebook’s digital currency Libra and Bitcoin. He said that the decentralized currency outside the realm of sovereign authorities cannot be trusted as they are often prone to wild swings.
He also doubted that Libra, now under heavy scrutiny from global regulators (see here), would see the light of the day.