The People’s Bank of China is “close” to issuing its own cryptocurrency, according to a senior official.
The bank’s researchers have been working intensively since last year to develop systems, and the cryptocurrency is “close to being out,” Mu Changchun, deputy director of the PBOC’s payments department, said at an event held by China Finance 40 Forum over the weekend in Yichun, Heilongjiang. He didn’t give specifics on the timing.
Mu repeated the PBOC’s intention that the digital currency would replace M0, or cash in circulation, rather than M2, which would generate credit and impact monetary policy.
The remarks signal the PBOC is inching toward formally introducing a digital currency of its own after five years of research. China would be one of the first major economies to do so.
Facebook Inc.’s push to create cryptocurrency Libra has caused concerns among global central banks, including the PBOC, which said the digital asset must be put under central bank oversight to prevent potential foreign exchange risks and protect the authority of monetary policy.
The central bank will “expedite the research of China’s legal digital tender” and monitor the trends of virtual currency development at overseas and at home, the PBOC said in a statement listing its work plan for the second half of 2019 released in early August.