Top official at China’s central bank has revealed that the much anticipated country's digital currency will have similarities to Facebook’s Libra token.
Hong Kong Economic Journal reported the news on Sept. 6, citing prior coverage by Shanghai Securities News, which is owned by the official Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency.
The deputy director of People’s Bank of China (PBoC)’s payments department, Mu Changchun said that China’s digital currency will be supported across major e-payments platforms such as Tencent’s WeChat and the Alibaba-backed Alipay.
The tokens will have guaranty from the central bank and will be as secure as PBoC-issued paper notes which can be used without an internet connection, to ensure that transactions can continue even when communications networks are down.
Mu argued that the coin would help protect China’s foreign exchange sovereignty even as numerous commercial applications of digital currencies gain traction:
“Why is the central bank still doing such a digital currency today when electronic payment methods are so developed? It is to protect our monetary sovereignty and legal currency status. We need to plan ahead for a rainy day.”
The currency is aimed at offering provisions for anonymous payments while preventing money laundering, Mu noted. Clarifying that while the payments-focused currency would bear similarities to Libra, it would not be a direct copy.
Previously there was a report that China has been researching its digital currency project since 2014, with development work gathering speed in 2018. Last month, the PBoC revealed the currency was almost ready to launch.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal also notes that the currency could launch as early as Nov. 11, which is significantly sooner than Facebook’s Libra.