PBoC governor confirms ‘no timetable’ for digital yuan

There is no current timeline for an official launch of the digital yuan, according to the governor of the People’s Bank of China.

In an attempt to quash rumors of an imminent release, head of the Chinese central bank Yi Gang said there was no date for an official launch yet for the project.

It comes after reports from a number of sources suggested the bank was at an advanced stage of testing pilot schemes for its digital currency, which looks set to become one of the first major global currencies to be at least part issued on the blockchain.

Yi Gang’s comments confirm the position previously set out by bank officials in response to speculation about the project’s progress, with the bank known to be piloting the technology in several local schemes across China.

Internal tests have seen trials of the bank’s Digital Currency/Electronic Payment scheme in Shenzhen, Xiong’An New Area, Chengdu, and Suzhou, which began in April 2020.

Commenting on these pilots, Yi described them as “still a routine work in the research and development process, and does not mean that the digital RMB will be officially issued. There is no timetable for when it will be officially launched.”

Blockchain commentator Cao Yin said that in spite of the position from the central bank, there could still be a quicker roll out of the digital currency, with the bank keen to get ahead of the US and other international rivals.

“Although the U.S. hasn’t put Chinese financial firms and institutions onto its Entity List, the U.S. may still pose widespread threats to Chinese institutions and impact the yuan’s standing in international settlement. In this regard, China’s state-run digital currency may be rolled out sooner than expected to counter a possible U.S. block.”

To learn more about central bank digital currencies and some of the design decisions that need to be considered when creating and launching it, read nChain’s CBDC playbook.

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