China’s central bank plans to issue its own digital currency “as soon as possible,” according to Xinhua. The People’s Bank of China made the announcement at a conference on digital currency in Beijing.
According to Xinhua, in 2014 the PBOC set up a team to examine the possibility of establishing a digital currency and particularly to study experiences in China and abroad. Two years later, the team “has made progress on technology, legal issues, and the impact on financial systems,” Xinhua said.
Charlie Custer, writing for Tech in Asia, notes that China is still a long way from actually rolling out a digital currency. Plus, he’s skeptical that the idea will take off in the country: “Chinese consumers are historically conservative about their savings, and dumping lots of money into a brand-new wholly-abstract digital currency could be a tough sell, even for China’s Central Bank.”
So why is China pursuing its own digital currency? The PBOC listed a number of practical benefits: a digital currency is cheaper (because it reduces the need to print money), makes trading and financial transactions easier, and also helps cut down on money laundering and tax evasion.
However, the logic behind the move may