Chinese Central Bank Says Digital Renminbi Will Not Provide Full Anonymity

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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) says that it central bank digital currency (CBDC) – also referred to as the digital renminbi, is characterised by “controllable anonymity” which is designed to guard against fraud and criminal activity.

“Controllable anonymity is a key feature of the digital renminbi,” said Mu Changchun (穆长春), head of PBOC’s Digital Currency Research Institute, on 25 July at the 5th Digital China Development Summit (第五届数字中国建设峰会数字).

“On the one hand this embodies its positioning as part of the M0 money supply, guaranteeing the rational needs of the public with regard to anonymous transactions and the protection of personal information.

“On the other hand, it also prevents and strikes against illegal criminal behaviour such as money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, maintaining the objective need for financial security.

“Full anonymity has never been within the scope of consideration for the CBDC’s of any country…the international consensus is for limited anonymity under the precondition that regulatory requirements for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing are satisfied.”

Mu sought to stress the greater convenience and ease provided by the digital renminbi, as well as efforts to ensure that personal information protections are effectively implemented.

“The digital renminbi is the statutory digital currency issued by PBOC, and fully respects privacy and personal information protections, as well as effectively performs risk prevention on this foundation to prevent usage by criminal elements,” Mu said.

“Information in relation to the digital renminbi is encrypted and sealed – all user information is subject to de-identification processing, and without lawful authorisation neither PBOC internal personnel or external entities and individuals are permitted to conduct discretionary searches or make usage of data.

“Unauthorised searching or usage of personal information will be subject to lawful pursuit for legal liability.”