The People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) Digital Currency Institute is partnering with industries and research and development institutions to open new study centers across the country. The research center will open a new center in Nanjing to facilitate a wider distribution of blockchain and related Fintech.
Central Bank Marches with Digital Currency Plans
A report appearing in the Security Times stated that the PBOC had partnered with the University of Nanjing, the local government and the Bank of Jiangsu to establish a new Fintech center in Nanjing. The new municipal Fintech center will concentrate Fintech, the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data.
The Fintech centers will double up as centers for test running the awaited Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which is projected to go into production soon.
Apart from Nanjing, the report shows that the Digital Currency Research Institute has a similar center in the Southern City of Shenzhen, which was incorporated in June with a seed capital of approximately $300,000.
The mandate of the Shenzhen Financial Technology Company, the report, will not be limited to cryptocurrency but will also cover data, AI and distributed books. PBOC opened the digital research institute last year, and it now seems keen to spread its tentacles to other cities across the vast country.
The People’s Bank of China has submitted over 40 patent applications in the last one year alone. This may be a sign that the world’s 2nd largest economy could be planning to play an active role in the cryptocurrency arena. The filed patents, according to information from the country’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), mainly focus on crypto payment systems and their related technologies.
China at a Crypto Crossroad
PBOC established the Research Lab to develop software and hardware prototypes to expedite the creation of a state-backed cryptocurrency. In November 2017 the Lab submitted a patent that explains what it called “fundamental flaws” with privately issued crypto assets, saying a state-backed crypto asset was inevitable to “upscale the existing circulation of fiat currency.”
The Lab has also submitted other patent applications related to wallet services and crypto-based transactions.
The initiatives by the Chinese government come when Chinese cryptocurrency enthusiasts are facing tumultuous times. From last September’s blanket ban on Initial Coin Offerings and cryptocurrency trading citing financial risks, the government has widened the crackdown this year to target hotels and businesses holding crypto-related functions. It’s too early to tell what China is planning about cryptocurrencies, but all signs point to a country that plans to have a firm grip on crypto development.