Chinese Central Bank Flags Further Steady, Controlled Testing of the Digital Renminbi in 2021

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The head of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has indicated that it will continue to conduct stable and gradual testing of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2021, as opposed to pursuing an abrupt nationwide roll-out.

PBOC governor Yi Gang (易纲) said China would “steadily advance research and development of digital currencies, undertake controllable trials in an orderly manner, and improve the legal framework for the statutory digital currency.”

Yi made the remarks in an essay published by the People’s Daily on 24 December entitled “Establishing a Modern Central Banking System” (建设现代中央银行制度).

The remarks from Yi Gang arrive just following the holding of a 20 million yuan “lottery” in the Jiangsu province city of Suzhou on 12 December, which saw 100,000 participants each win 200 yuan in digital renminbi for use at 10,000 select local retailers, as well as on the JD.com e-commerce platform.

The Chinese central bank first announced in April 2020 that it had commenced trials of the digital renminbi in four cities around China including Shenzhen, Suzhou Xiong’an and Chengdu, following a five year research and development period that kicked off in 2014.

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