The launch of Libra by Facebook changed something in the cryptocurrency landscape; after the launch in June, industry actors started to pay China some heed, with reports indicating that the nation was and still is on the verge of launching its own central bank digital asset/currency.
Even high-level Chinese officials indicated that Beijing was about to release a cryptocurrency on the world.
Many took this as fact — the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank of the country, kept its mouth shut as these reports spread online. Though, in its seeming first communication about its digital currency venture, the PBoC tried to quench the rumors about the project, deeming them inaccurate.
Not Ready to Launch Its Crypto Yet
In an official announcement published on Wednesday, the PBoC asserted that the “net news (online news)” that it has issued legal digital currency is categorically false. A rough translation of the statement reads as follows:
“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 PBoC wasn’t done yet. China’s central bank continued that overseas and local reports that suggest the launch of the “DC/EP” or ” Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP),” as Chinese media has dubbed the project, are “inaccurate.”
This comment was seemingly in reference to a number of reports published by mainstream Western outlets that claim DCEP will launch within the next few months. One such report came from CNBC, which revealed that HCM Capital managing partner Jack Lee believes the PBoC digital currency network could launch within the next two to three months.
Forbes published another such report, asserting in August of this year that “the technology behind the cryptocurrency has been ready since last year and that the cryptocurrency could launch as soon as November 11, China’s busiest shopping day, known as Singles Day.”
Forbes’ source also claimed that “the largest bank in the world, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China; two of China’s largest financial technology companies, Alibaba and Tencent; and Union Pay, an association of Chinese banks” would be first to receive and distribute the cryptocurrency.
Singles Day has just passed and the abovementioned companies have yet to comment on cryptocurrency matters, let alone the PBoC’s DCEP venture.
All In on Blockchain
While the Chinese government may not be launching a digital asset yet, there is no doubt that work has begun on national and more regional blockchain projects.
A day or two after President Xi Jinping announced that China will be adopting blockchain as a “core/key” technology, the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress in China passed a cryptography law. The law clarifies the use of cryptography — the technology underpinning blockchain, which itself underpins Bitcoin — in commercial operations.
In terms of actual projects, a post from the CCP’s propaganda office revealed the launch of “Original Intentions Onchain,” a blockchain solution that allows members of the Communist Party to store written pledges of allegiance to the party on a blockchain.
There have also been reports of municipalities in China investing hundreds of millions of Chinese yuan into blockchain ventures, along with a Huawei representative revealing that the Chinese technology giant is working with agencies in Beijing to transfer data via blockchain.
Every company in China is jumping on the Blockchain Boat. Huawei Blockchain wallet coming soon ? ???? https://t.co/kUkTxoClE5
— Boxmining (@boxmining) November 10, 2019