New details of the digital currency conference in Beijing are revealed in an official statement made by People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The bank aims at issuing their own digital currency as soon as possible.

At the conference the bank was represented by its Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Deputy Governor FanYifei. According to the information gained by CoinFox, some representatives of the bitcoin community from New York and Baltimore, whose presence at the conference was sponsored by major banks, also took part in the meeting. The English translation of PBOC statement is published on the blog of BitMEX, a bitcoin trading platform.

Issuing a new digital currency will make the Chinese economic system more efficient, says the statement. According to PBOC, they established a research team in 2014 to analyse the opportunities and challenges the bank would have to face due to the quick development of the virtual currency world. The team has been carrying out the research on the legal and technical aspects of digital currency issuance. Their conclusions show that the economy of China would benefit if PBOC creates their own equivalent of it.

“Issuing digital currencies instead of paper money could reduce the costs of issuance and circulation, increase the efficiency and transparency of money transfers, reduce the chances of money laundering and tax evasion, and increase the controllability of money supply by central bank to better support the development of our country,” reads the statement.

PBOC expects its research team to continue the study helping create a convenient and safe digital currency that would “have high coverage, and seamlessly integrate with other platforms.” To stimulate its development the bank cooperates with various organisations within and outside China, including internet enterprises.

This project seems to be a further step towards recognition of virtual currencies by Chinese officials. Till now the position of digital money in the country, including bitcoin, has been ambiguous. On the one hand, cryptocurrencies are not supposed to be a mean of payment and their status is different from that of the yuan. On the other hand, digital currencies are not forbidden, which (together with low mining costs) has made China one of the largest cryptocurrency markets in the world and home for some of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, including BTCC and Huobi.

However, bitcoin and other decentralised currencies, the project of PBOC refers to a government-issued digital money. If ever created, it will be centralised and controlled by official regulators. And some economists assume that governmental projects of this type, such as Canadian MintChip, are missing the main point of virtual currency and lacking some of its essential advantages: independence from governmental control; independence from national currency fluctuations; independence from transaction costs.


Andrew Levich