China has confirmed that the development of a state digital currency is still on the agenda, with the chief of a government funded blockchain research center saying that work on this is in process.
This clarification comes right at the time when rumors had spread across the country that the government had already launched a central bank cryptocurrency.
According to this report, Zhang Yifeng, head of the China Banknote Blockchain Research Center said that the research and development of a digital currency is currently ongoing, though an estimated launch schedule remains unknown.
In case you’re curious, a government funded center was recently formed under the China Banknote Credit Card Industry Development, which is fully state owned by the China Banknote Print and Minting Corporation.
Which in turn is a direct subordinate of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.
These comments follow previous remarks by the former governor of the PBoC, Zhou Xiaochuan, who said in a press conference earlier in March that the development of a central bank backed currency is inevitable.
What’s not yet decided is whether the launch of a central bank currency will see it replace the existing monetary system immediately.
Chances are, it won’t.
Zhang anticipates that both fiat and digital currencies will be used in parallel, arguing that value as a payments tool is central to a state backed cryptocurrency.
Coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, he believes, are not entitled to be called a digital currency, as their role of storing value has largely overtaken their payments role. Then again, with how fast the world of crypto changes this is not something that can be said with certainty.
What we do know is that China is jumping on the cryptocurrency game in a big way.