Facebook’s Digital Money Plan Raises Stakes For China’s Cryptocurrency Ambitions
By Emily Feng
When Facebook announced plans in June to launch a new digital currency called Libra, the news sent monetary officials scrambling in China.
That’s because since 2014, the People’s Bank of China has been looking into building its own, centrally controlled cryptocurrency.
“We will keep a close eye on the new global digital currency,” Wang Xin, research director at China’s central bank, said of Libra at a conference in early July in Beijing. “We had an early start … but lots of work is needed to consolidate our lead.”
A digital currency would allow China’s central bank to record every single transaction with high precision in real time. China’s mobile payments already capture vast troves of data; estimates of nearly 2 billion accounts are registered between the two major platforms, Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay. A centralized digital currency would further cement China’s dominance in financial technology.
Photo courtesy of bfishadow.
Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)