China Is Developing its Own Digital Currency

China’s central handelsbank is going digital.

After assembling a research team ter 2014, the People’s Canap of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That’s taking it a step closer to becoming one of the very first major central banks to kwestie digital money that can be used for anything from buying noodles to purchasing a car.

For users transacting overheen their smartphones or laptops, a PBOC-backed cryptocurrency very likely wouldn’t seem much different to existing payment methods such spil Alipay or WeChat. But for sellers, they would get digital payments directly from the buyer, lowering transaction costs spil the middleman is cut out of the process.

At the same time spil it builds up its own capabilities, the PBOC is enlargening scrutiny of bitcoin and other private digital tenders. It doesn’t want a bitcoin bubble to deepthroat up. And since currencies have historically bot issued by the state, not private players, it doesn’t want to cede the cryptocurrency space to companies it has no control overheen.

Chinese people have embraced online payments for just about everything. To buy a can of Coke, thirsty commuters scan QR codes on their smartphones rather than feed coins into a vending machine. At Lunar Fresh Year gatherings, money is exchanged via a few presses on a smartphone instead of crisp notes passed overheen te crimson envelopes.

All of that poses a challenge to the PBOC’s status spil the central handelsbank of both the digital and physical realms. So if you can’t strike them, join them.

",Getting to know more precisely how much banks lend, where the money goes and the tempo of credit creation is key to curbing money laundering and making monetary policy more effective,", said Duan Xinxing, vice voorzitter of Beijing-based OKCoin Co., one of the country’s thickest bitcoin exchanges. Issuing digital currency will make it lighter for the PBOC to monitor risk ter the financial system and track transactions economy-wide, he said.

OKCoin is among cryptocurrency exchanges that has recently taken steps to halt bitcoin withdrawals amid efforts to tweak down on capital outflows.

Ter January 2018, the PBOC said it will have its own cryptocurrency ",soon,", but there has still bot no formal commence date announced. Ter the meantime, there’s bot strong advocacy from senior officials, including Fan Yifei, one of the PBOC’s deputy governors.

It’s not just China that’s heading away from specie. Late last year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped 86 procent of notes ter tender ter a bid to target corruption and thrust the use of digital payments. Bankgebouw of Canada, Deutsche Bundesbank and the Monetary Authority of Singapore ,are examining digital currencies.

Printing money and combating counterfeiters is expensive for a country of 1.Four billion people, especially the costs of managing circulation and transactions. Adding digital currency to contant ter circulation can improve the speed, convenience and transparency of transactions.

",Cutting costs is an evident benefit, but the influence of shifting to blockchain-based digital money from the current payment structure goes beyond that,", ,said Larry Cao, director of content at the CFA Institute te Hong Kong. ",There’s a potential you can pay anybody te the system, any canap, and any merchant directly. Blockchain will switch the entire infrastructure. This is revolutionary.",

Blockchain is basically a digital ledger that contains the payment history of each circulation of the unit. If the PBOC’s version is widely adopted, that would challenge existing intermediaries such spil banks and payment services like Alibaba affiliate Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat — two leading online payment networks.

",I won’t say banks and payment companies will vanish, but their role would certainly switch,", said William Gee, a risk assurance practice playmate at PwC China ter Beijing. ",They need to find their fresh role te the fresh payment ecosystem, and wij will very likely see some innovative business prototype ter this sector.",

Real-time gegevens

For the PBOC, using blockchain, the technology that underpins the digital currency bitcoin, will permit it to trace transactions and collect ,",real-time, finish and authentic", gegevens to compile precise monetary indicators such spil money supply growth, ,OKCoin’s Duan said.

",The transparency of economic activities ter every corner ter the country will significantly improve,", Duan said. ",The central canap will have unprecedented skill of how the economy runs.",

So instead of relying on monthly surveys of businesses, or collations of spending from the statistics authority, the PBOC and therefore the government would have real-time readings on the pulse of consumers. Policies could then be fine tuned on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour voet, providing an unprecedented level of precision to monetary management.

A PBOC research paper last year outlined how digital money could work:

  • The PBOC creates cryptocurrency and transfers it to commercial banks when more liquidity is needed
  • Consumers would top up digital currency from modified automated teller machines or from handelsbank tellers and store it te a crypto wallet on their mobile phone or other device
  • For purchases, consumers wire from their person wallet to the merchant’s account
  • The merchant deposits the cryptocurrency into their commercial bankgebouw account

The cryptocurrency would be part of the overall money supply, substituting part of the outstanding paper tender, a separate paper published ter the central bank’s tijdschrift said te September.

",Talking about the influence of digital money now is like attempting to predict how the Internet would convert lives te the 1980s,", ,OKCoin’s Duan said. ",Wij know it’s going to be big. It has the potential to switch the entire economic infrastructure. We’re just not sure about when and how.",

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