China’s Digital Currency Will Provide ‘Controlled Anonymity’, Official Reveals

An official from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), China’s central bank, has revealed the country’s upcoming digital currency will provide its users some anonymity.

According to Reuters Mu Changchun, head of the PBoC’s digital currency research institute, said at a conference in Singapore the officially-named Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) will meet demand for anonymity. He said:

We know the demand from the general public is to keep anonymity by using paper money and coins ... we will give those people who demand it anonymity in their transactions.

The DCEP is, according to some, going to be partially powered by blockchain technology and will use wallets just like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Analysts believe it could give China’s central bank unprecedented oversight and control over its economy, as it could allow it to control money flows.

Changchun noted that while it’ll provide anonymity, it will be “controllable anonymity” as the financial institution will ensure it doesn’t lead to anti-money laundering, terrorism-financing, online gambling, and other potential issues.

Per his words, the PBoC isn’t “seeking full control of the information of the general public,” but is instead looking to boost financial inclusion in rural areas and create a system that can be used in case there are problems with China’s current financial infrastructure. These comments seem to be a reply to Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, who said China is likely interested in using DCEP for control.

When the DCEP will launch is currently unclear. While some rumored it would be launched this month, the head of the PBoC has said there’s “no timetable” for the digital currency’s launch. Chinese officials have also made it clear the currency’s holders won’t receive interest payments.

Featured image by Daniel Monteiro on Unsplash.