The central bank of Asia’s biggest superpower is looking to hire a half dozen experts, including veterans of cryptography and blockchain development, for its ongoing digital currency efforts.
The 2020-focused hiring push comes as part of annual recruitment drive held by the People’s Bank of China, or PBoC, which the institution uses to fill open positions in the ranks of its various divisions.
In line with recent developments indicating PBoC has been accelerating work around a digital yuan, the bank’s October 11th bulletin noted its prospective digital currency hires should well-versed in mainstay cryptoeconomy fields like cryptography and computing and preferably have experience in niches like cryptocurrency analysis and blockchain development.
Not to Be Outmaneuvered
The recruitment comes as PBoC has been concerned with Facebook’s dollar-centric Libra posing a threat to the yuan, according to remarks made by the bank’s research division director, Wang Xin, this summer.
“There would be in essence one boss, that is the U.S. dollar and the United States,” Xin said at the time.
Accordingly, the institution has been working toward a digital yuan that would be Libra-like in some respects, so as not to be outmaneuvered by Facebook’s coming transnational basketcoin, which the company and its partners are aiming to bring to billions of users across the world.
In September, the central bank’s former deputy director of payments and the current head of its Digital Currency Research Lab, Mu Changchun, held a public lecture in which he outlined the PBoC’s approach to a digital yuan. He said:
“Why is the central bank still doing such a digital currency today when electronic payment methods are so developed? It is to protect our monetary sovereignty and legal currency status.”
Yet PBoC isn’t merely tokenizing its fiat currency. According to Changchun’s lecture, the bank is looking to make an entirely new alternative rail for the yuan that can transcend the functionalities of traditional systems.
For example, Changchun said the digital yuan would rely on mobile wallets that had near-field communication (NFC) functionalities so that users could transact without mobile signals simply by placing their phones against each other.
“Traditional electronic payment is useless in an environment where there is no signal,” Changchun said.
The Chatter Is Growing
There’s been no shortage of central bank intrigue in cryptoverse headlines as of late.
For example, last month two top officials at the International Monetary Fund said that stablecoin projects might eventually peg their valuations directly to central bank reserves, though these institutions would have to agree to open up their reserves for this purpose first.
Just days later, the chief economist at major Dutch bank ING, Mark Cliffe, said that a “fully-fledged digital currency from a G20 central bank” might happen sooner than many people think.
This October, two American lawmakers also notably sent Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell a series of questions regarding whether the central banking system had any plans to create a cryptocurrency version of the U.S. dollar.
Not a Central Bank, But BoA Hiring Too
Also in the news this week is the fact that Bank of America, the second largest bank in the U.S., has recently listed a half dozen blockchain-centric positions of its own.
The open positions include technology and banking architects and a treasury product manager and are the clearest indication yet that Bank of America is doing its homework, and likely then some, on blockchain technology in the context of banking.
Perhaps the bank doesn’t want to be left behind by its competition. In September, Wells Fargo revealed it was testing an internal settlement service for transferring digital dollars using distributed ledger tech.