China’s Central Bank, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), is reportedly studying the prospect of issuing its own digital currency and aiming to roll out a product as soon as possible, Bloomberg reports on Thursday.
The PBOC set up a research team in 2014 to study digital currencies and application scenarios, Bloomberg said, citing a statement posted on the regulator’s website.
The PBOC said that it has consulted with experts such as Citigroup and Deloitte, according to the report, however it did not specify what kind of technology that it would be using to issue its digital currency or how it may work in relation to its currency, the yuan.
China has become one of the biggest markets for digital currencies like bitcoin and its miners, although Chinese regulators have taken a hands-off approach with bitcoin exchanges and associated businesses.
“They’ve recognized the opportunities the digital currencies have,” Zennon Kapron, managing director of Kapronasia told Bloomberg. “If they did have something the government could monitor and use, that could fit into their longer-term plans.”
“Right now it’s too early to see what effect PBOC’s move will have on China’s bitcoin community,” Wang Chun, Beijing-based co-founder of the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining pool F2Pool said to Bloomberg. “They could decide to let bitcoin co-exist with its own digital currency, or chose to crack down on it.”