China to Be First to Launch Digital Currency

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An executive at a Chinese economics think tank has said that China’s central bank will be the first to launch a digital currency successfully.

According to Chinese tech news outlet Pandaily, Huang Qifan, vice chairman of China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), confidently believes that China’s central bank will win the race for the first central bank digital currency (CBDC). 

A digital renminbi to replace SWIFT

Qifan’s remarks came at the Inaugural Bund Financial Summit of 2019 in Shanghai. Per the report, Qifan was dissatisfied with current dependence on the United States’ SWIFT and CHIPS payments systems, on which cross-border exchange of the renminbi currently depends. His complaints were on the basis of both U.S. sanctioning using the platforms and their technical limitations. He said:

“SWIFT is an outdated, inefficient and costly payment system. Since the establishment of SWIFT 46 years ago, the technology has been updated slowly and the efficiency has been relatively low.”

The bank’s progress with its digital currency

China’s central bank first announced that its digital currency was ready in August. In September, the central bank said in apparently contradicting comments that China has no specific launch date in mind for its digital currency. According to Global Times, PBoC still needed time to research, test, evaluate and prevent risks.

The Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress in China recently passed a new law regulating cryptography on Oct. 26 that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The new regulation has also been rumored to be part of preparations for the upcoming Chinese CBDC.

Critics have noted that the CBDC in question is not an actual cryptocurrency. As Coinworld360 reported in August, it will be powered by a two-tier operating system, which will not be fully decentralized.

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