China’s fiat digital currency will not launch in November: PBOC

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(Image credit: Piyao)

The central bank-issued digital currency will not be ready in November as widely speculated, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said on Saturday in a statement to Piyao, China’s official rumor-fighting platform. The bank also said that reports saying Alibaba and Tencent would be among the first financial institutions to receive the currency was inaccurate.

Why it matters: China’s “DC/EP” (Digital Currency/Electronic Payments) currency, which has been in the works for five years, will be the first of its kind to be adopted on a massive scale.

  • Prompted by news of Facebook’s cryptocurrency, the central bank recently accelerated the development of its digital money. The central bank previously identified digital currency development one of its crucial tasks for the second half of 2019, saying that it could launch as early as next year.

Details: The central bank said information such as the timing of the currency launch and participating institutions was false, but offered no other information.

  • The clarification follows a Forbes report from end-August citing multiple sources who said the launch of the digital currency was imminent and could fall before the November 11 Chinese e-commerce festival known as Singles Day. The sources also said Chinese commercial banks and payment companies such as Alibaba and Tencent would be among the first institutions to receive DC/EP for distribution.
  • The central bank said in the statement that the progress of the DC/EP will be announced in due time and urged the public to follow official announcements.

Context: DC/EP, which is nearly ready for release, will resemble Facebook’s digital money, Mu Changchun, former deputy director of the PBOC payments department and the new head of digital currency research, said during an online open course lecture earlier this month.

  • Mu recently took over the role of director of the PBOC’s research institute on digital currency.