China’s digital currency not seeking full data control: cenbank official

China currencyChina’s proposed digitized domestic currency is not a bid to gain full control of information belonging to the general public, a senior central bank official said, news agency Reuters reported on Tuesday. The official said the goal was to balance privacy concerns and the authorities’ need for information.

China is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency. Earlier this month, there were reports that the country has been taking steps to ensure that there are no negative posts or articles around cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology, which enables the existence of virtual currencies.

China’s move to roll out a digitized domestic currency is being closely watched by the world’s financial services industries, though few details are currently available.

Similar to Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency and other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the officially-named Digital Currency Electronic Payment will be powered partially by blockchain technology and dispersed through digital wallets.

What sets it somewhat apart, however, is that the digital currency’s design seemingly provides Beijing with unprecedented oversight over money flows, giving Chinese authorities a degree of control over their economy that most central banks do not have, the Reuters report added.

“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,” Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute, told a conference in Singapore.

“But at the same time we will keep the balance between the ‘controllable anonymity’ and anti-money laundering, CTF (counter terrorist financing), and also tax issues, online gambling and any electronic criminal activities,” he added.

“That is a balance we have to keep, and that is our goal. We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

Mu said on Tuesday that the goal of the project was to create a new system in case of problems with China’s existing financial infrastructure, where electronic payments are currently dominated by just two players, and to boost financial inclusion in rural areas, the report added.

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