China’s central bank provides an update on digital currency plans

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has already made it clear that a bank-backed digital currency could be coming. A digital yuan would be the first cryptocurrency launched by a major central bank, but when this currency could be introduced is still uncertain. Reports that the launch was “imminent” have already been debunked, but this hasn’t stopped some from reporting that the rollout has already begun. These reports, asserts the PBoC, are completely “fraudulent.”

The bank warns that any talk of an official PBoC-issued digital yuan is fake and is nothing more than an attempt to conduct “fraud and pyramid schemes.” It adds (translated from Chinese), “The People’s Bank of China has not issued legal digital currency (DC/EP) and has not authorized any asset trading platform to conduct transactions. The People’s Bank of China has been studying the legal digital currency since 2014 and is still in the process of research and testing. The market transactions “DC/EP” or “DCEP” are illegally set digital currency, and the legal digital currency issuance time is inaccurate.”

The PBoC has reportedly spent the past several years working on a digital currency and is still only in the research and development phase before ultimately rolling out a solution. Despite the prevalence of information coming from the bank, certain fraudsters and scammers have tried to take advantage of the situation, offering opportunities to purchase an alleged state-backed cryptocurrency.

Previously, there were reports that the new digital yuan could be released as of November 11, which is why there is now an effort by the PBoC to clear the air. Those reports, however, were unfounded and the date was apparently chosen by certain media outlets for its relevance to China’s Single’s Day, celebrated on November 11, which is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

This week, the head of the PBoC’s digital currency research institute, Mu Changchun, provided a separate update on the status of the digital yuan while at a conference in Singapore. He explained, “We know the demand from the general public is to keep anonymity by using paper money and coins … we will give those people who demand it anonymity in their transactions.”

Mu, who has been in charge of the institute since this past September, further explained that the PBoC would keep the “balance between the ‘controllable anonymity’ and anti-money laundering, CTF [Countering Financing of Terrorism], and also tax issues, online gambling and any electronic criminal activities” and added, “That is a balance we have to keep, and that is our goal. We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

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