China Delays Development On National Cryptocurrency As Coronavirus Epidemic Continues

China has delayed its research on launching a government-backed Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), in Q1 2020, as the country continues to battle the increased coronavirus outbreak. This does not mean that China will not launch the sovereign digital currency this year, Global Times reported Tuesday.  

China to Launch a Cryptocurrency in 2020

Before efforts were shifted to the Coronavirus, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and other relevant bodies involved in the project, were discussing plans and how the cryptocurrency would be circulated as “genuine cash.” 

The PBoC, in January, outlined its major tasks in 2020 for the upcoming digital currency, with more focused on Research and Development. The central bank already established two more research institutes in Shenzhen and Suzhou in addition to its Beijing headquarters. 

Despite the delay and the fact that the first quart of the year is almost over, the country still intends to launch the DCEP, also called the digital yuan, as scheduled, before the end of 2020. China’s central bank has the technological capacity, resources, and talented personnel that will ensure that they meet up with their deadline, sources familiar with the matter told Global Times.  

“The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). Policymakers and research staff involved in the DCEP project are no exception, which weighs on the development process,” an unidentified source said.

Fruitful Results So Far

The PBoC has been working towards the launch for a long time, both technologically and theoretically, Cao Yin, vice director of the Advanced Research Institute of Blockchain of Tsinghua University said. Yin went further to add that the technological roadmap for the launch is already available. 

While describing the current situation of China’s research on the digital currency, the anonymous speaker was quoted saying that “the research into the DCEP has achieved fruitful results.” 

The central bank was expected to make an important announcement during the Q1, according to Shentu Qingchun, CEO of Shenzhen-based blockchain company BankLedger, involved in the launch of the digital currency.

However, with only one month left, the announcement might not be made on time. Shentu said without giving more details.

The CEO believes that the coronavirus may propel the PCB and policymakers to give more attention to the launch of the cryptocurrency as it would help to reduce physical contact among individuals. 

Japan to Counter China’s Digital Currency

As China draws closer to the launch of its national cryptocurrency, Japan is taking the necessary measures to counter the digital yuan. 

Earlier this month, Japan released its drafted proposal for its own cryptocurrency, which they believe will help to combat the global effect of the Chinese DCEP. The country, however, said that they cannot do it alone and would need help for the United States.  

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