Experts in the crypto community have expressed confidence that China is close to introducing its state-owned cryptocurrency, amid Facebook announcing the launch of its own Libra coin. The latest reports indicate that China’s central bank is set to unveil the world’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on November 11th.
According to an unconfirmed report by Nederob citing Forbes, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) — the country’s central bank — has been working on the token for the past five years. Major Chinese entities, including Tencent, Alibaba, four Chinese banks, and credit card firm Union Pay, would be granted the CBDC in order to distribute them further to Chinese consumers.
The implications for the central bank token are huge. There are over 1.4 billion potential users of the currency in China alone, and with the PBOC reportedly planning to allow foreign investment in the system, China’s digital currency could find its way in crypto wallets across the world.
Digital payments are nothing new to the general consumer in China. Ant Financial’s Alipay alone has over 231 million customers making online transactions annually. Meanwhile, WeChat — the largest messenger application in China — reported that it has 900 million monthly paying users.
Digital payments haven’t been confined to online shopping. Users in China can also scan QR codes and pay for services such as public transit via these apps, indicating the degree to which digital payments have already integrated into daily life in China.
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