China Daily: Epidemic prevention or control accelerates issuance of digital currencies

Original: China Daily

As the prevention and control of the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has entered a critical stage, the issue of whether cash payments are of concern to the public has been recently explained by relevant authorities. More people tend to use contactless electronic payment methods at special times. Experts said that this may also promote the issuance and use of digital currencies.

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Although it is unclear how long the new coronavirus can survive on the surface of cash, considering that it is mainly transmitted through contact with infected persons and droplets, to ensure safety, people are reducing direct face-to-face cash transactions.

At a news conference on Saturday, Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People ’s Bank of China, introduced that in order to ensure the safety and health of the public ’s use of cash, the People ’s Bank of China urgently put in 4 billion yuan of new banknotes in Wuhan before the Spring Festival, increasing bank outlets The sense of security of the staff and the people handling cash. At the same time, inter-provincial cash transfers and intra-provincial transfers in some areas with severe epidemics were suspended to minimize personnel movements and reduce the risk of infection and transmission in transit.

Withdraw cash from key areas for epidemic prevention and control, disinfect by ultraviolet or high temperature, store it for more than 14 days, and put it on the market. Fan Yifei said, "The current measures are still effective. We must ensure the safety and health of the people in using cash."

He also mentioned that the People's Bank of China will further accelerate the work in the field of mobile payments. "At present, the business in this area has developed rapidly. The compound annual growth rates of mobile payment transactions and amounts in the past three years have reached 83.5% and 39%, respectively. It should be said that China's electronic payment is still relatively advanced." Take some measures to encourage online banking, mobile banking and other channels to provide customers with financial investment, living expenses, online shopping and other services around the clock. "

Li Lihui, the former head of the Blockchain Working Group of the China Internet Finance Association and former president of the Bank of China, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily on the weekend that under the current situation of epidemic prevention and control, digital currency issuance should be accelerated.

"However, China's modern and emerging electronic payment platform is very mature, and WeChat Pay and Alipay online payment platforms have ranked first and second globally," Li Lihui said. "The development prospect of digital currency applied to the retail business scene will depend to some extent on the choice of the market, but also on the efficiency, cost and convenience of the digital currency, and the economic scale of commercial value determined by it."

In an interview with China Daily, Yang Dong, director of the Center for Financial Technology and Blockchain Research at Renmin University of China's Future Rule of Law Institute, said that, overall, the impact of the epidemic would further accelerate the introduction of digital currencies. "This is mainly because the frequency of direct contact between people has been greatly reduced, and cash has been 'excluded' as a transaction medium, thereby further reducing the use of" banknotes "that require face-to-face payments."

"Institutions and individuals will be more inclined to use non-direct contact transaction media including digital currencies in a short period of time, and this tendency will quickly form a user stickiness. Digital currencies will use this as an opportunity to accelerate Its distribution and application, "Yang Dong said.

Previously, Fan Yifei said that the central bank's legal digital currency has basically completed the top-level design, standard formulation, functional research and development, and joint testing and testing. The next step will be to choose a reasonable pilot verification area, scenario, and service scope, and steadily promote the introduction of digital form legal currency .