A former adviser to China’s central bank has floated the idea that Beijing should review its draconian cryptocurrency ban, shedding light on an ongoing debate about the role of private digital currencies in China.
While the ban on cryptocurrency trading is practical for China at the moment, the government should consider whether such policies are sustainable in the long run, Huang Yiping, a former member of the monetary policy committee at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said in a speech in December. The transcript was published on Saturday.
Beijing initially banned crypto trading out of money laundering concerns, but a permanent “no” to related products could result in missed opportunities in technologies such as blockchain, which are “very valuable” to regulated financial systems, said Huang, now an economics professor at Peking University’s National School of Development.
Huang made his comments amid a push in China to drive adoption of the digital yuan, or e-CNY. While technically still being trialled in several cities throughout the country, the PBOC started counting it as part of the money supply in December. Still, adoption appears to have slowed along with the economy in the past few years.
During this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, e-CNY transaction volume in the designated pilot cities totalled 180 million yuan (US$26.5 million), state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday. Last year, official data showed total transactions from December 2019 Through August 2022 totalled 100 billion yuan, an average of more than 700 million yuan per week.