China’s Central Bank Opens New Digital Currency Research Institute

With the opening of its new cryptocurrency research lab, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) released the official address and other details about the effort this week.

According to local media, the PBoC Digital Currency Institute is located on the 9th floor of Building C, Desheng International Center, an office build complex near Beijing’s financial district. Notably, the building also houses subsidiaries of China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, a state-owned corporation that carries out the minting of all renminbi coins, as well as the printing of renminbi banknotes

Yao Qian, the former deputy director of PBoC’s technology department, will serve as director of the newly formed facility, which reportedly has seven divisions with research interests including blockchain and fintech.

A recruitment notice issued by the central bank in November revealed that the PBoC is actively developing prototypes related to blockchain-backed digital currency. Among the six positions it had open at the time, five were engaged in the design and development of software and hardware systems for digital money and related underlying platforms. 

The announcement comes at a time when the PBoC has been beefing up its R&D efforts for a state-backed digital currency.

Most recently, it was reported this January that the PBoC had completed a trial focused on how transactions and settlements might take place via a custom distributed ledger system.

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