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China government cryptocurrency may launch as soon as 11 November


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The world's largest shopping holiday presents a good opportunity to seed a new currency into the economy.

China's central bank digital currency (CBDC) may be available as soon as 11 November, according to sources cited by Forbes. The date is no coincidence. November 11 is Singles Day, which is China's the world's largest shopping holiday. The date 11/11 represents four individuals standing together.

Singles Day is about four times larger than Black Friday in the US.

This would be useful for spreading the CBDC around the country to consumers.

The CBDC will be distributed to seven different institutions, sources go on to say, including Alibaba and Tencent, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China and Union Pay.

These institutions will then be responsible for dispersing the new currency. The hope is that it will eventually be made available to users worldwide through correspondent bank networks.

This is precisely the kind of approach one would expect based on the "two tiered" design previously revealed by Mu Changchun, deputy director of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) payment and settlement division.

The roster of participating institutions also comes as little surprise – Alibaba and Tencent obviously, as well as the world's first, third and fourth largest banks – but it does help reinforce the scope of the project.

Almost there

China's CBDC isn't the only central bank digital currency project going on in the world, but it has two distinctive features which others don't:

  1. It's China's. Other countries such as the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands are making digital currency inroads, but the sheer bigness of China puts its CBDC on a different level.
  2. It's nearing its launch date. If it releases by 11 November, it will be the first live national digital currency, not counting Venezuela's Petro.

One of the main indirect impacts of the CBDC launch could be that it presents a lot of interesting lessons for other countries or institutions who want to imitate the feat, bringing widespread digital currency that much closer to the mainstream.

Plus, by conclusively proving the overall viability and usefulness of a purely digital currency, it could help inform more ambitious developments down the line, such as an entirely new digital global reserve currency.

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Disclosure: The author holds BNB, BTC at the time of writing.

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