Coronavirus Outbreak Delays China’s Digital Yuan Research

China’s Digital Yuan Research has been delayed due to the Coronavirus Outbreak. The Chinese digital yuan, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), is expected to debut later this year. However, the launch date remains unknown.

26 February, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – The coronavirus has a significant impact on the blockchain and crypto industry so far. Earlier this month, several crypto-related conferences in Asia postponed due to the Coronavirus epidemic. China also turned blockchain technology to manage medical data, track the supply of virus prevention equipment, and consult with the public amid the epidemic.

Coronavirus Impacts China’s Digital Yuan Research

Research into a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or Digital Yuan in China has delayed due to the continuing coronavirus epidemic. On February 25, the Global Times reported that the impact of the epidemic has resulted in significant setbacks. A source familiar with the question reportedly said:

The coronavirus epidemic has postponed the resumption of work in government institutions, including the People’s Bank of China. Moreover, policymakers and research staff involved in the DCEP [Digital Currency Electronic Payment] project is no exception, which weighs on the development process.

Shentu Qingchun, CEO of BankLedger, a Shenzhen company involved in the project, said:

The central bank also expect to make an announcement in the first quarter of 2020.

He also noted that there was only one month left in the quarter, “so the chances of the announcement could be made on time are slim.”

Shentu predicted that the Coronavirus epidemic could give policymakers reason to pay more attention to the development of the DCEP. It is due to the advantage of digital currency in reducing close contact between individuals. But that is not the main objective of digital currency.

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China’s CBDC Developing Team Trying to Catch Up

Cao Yin, a researcher at the Yangtze Delta Region Institute at Tsinghua University, said he expected DCEP to launch again this year. He said China has “been preparing for the launch for a long time, both technologically and theoretically” and that the road map is already in place. 

He added that the central bank’s digital currency team has enough research and development (R&D) staff to catch up on the process. In January, the PBC defined its main tasks for 2020, including promoting R&D for the new currency. On February 15, the Guangzhou branch of the Chinese central bank said :

All used banknotes from hospitals, flea markets and buses would immediately destroy to fight the COVID-19 crisis. 

So far, the PBC has established two other research institutes specializing in digital currencies. Those are in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province and Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province, also from its headquarters in Beijing. As of February 20, the central bank’s research institute had filed 65 patents for digital currencies. The PBC’s printing science and technology institute had filed 22 patents, media reports said.

About 10% of Chinese cities will start using digital currency based on blockchain technology by 2023, according to an IDC report in February.

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