China's research into the unveiling of its own digital yuan has been rescheduled as the coronavirus scare continues to grip the country, government authorities said.
The Global Times disclosed that the virus' negative effect on people working on the Central Bank Digital Currency program has resulted in significant delays.
However, the People's Bank of China said that the launch of China's virtual yuan has not been affected, as it has vast resources to continue with the project. The pilot version of the CBDC has now been set for launch late this year.
According to reports, an anonymous source with knowledge of central bank project has divulged that the epidemic has forced several states agencies to slow down. In a quote, the source said the health emergency has led to the postponement of work in government institutions, including the PBOC.
While describing China's current situation in research on its much-hyped digital money, the anonymous source was quoted saying that the research into the DCEP "has achieved positive results."
China's central bank declared in January that the development of the digital yuan was on track as expected and that its design phase was complete. The electronic money will firstly be distributed to commercial lenders and later to businesses and private individuals, which will be able to register virtual accounts with these finance firms. The distribution of China's digital cash will initially occur in the cities of Suzhou and Shenzhen.
Shentu Qingchun, chief executive officer of Shenzhen-headquartered blockchain firm Bank Ledger - which is participating in the digital yuan venture - disclosed that the PBOC was expected to issue an important announcement during its first-quarter results, Cointelegraph reported.
Cao Yin, a blockchain analyst at the Yangtze Delta Institute of University said that he sees the unveiling of the CBDC to still take place this year. He stressed that the country has been preparing for the digital yuan's roll-out "technologically and theoretically for a long time," and the blueprint is already in place. Cao also noted that the PBOC's electronic currency unit has enough manpower to offset the setbacks.
As China inches closer to the introduction of its national virtual currency, Japan is taking its own plan of action to counter China's digital yuan.
Earlier this month, Japan made public it is draft proposal for its own electronic money, which they believe will help thwart the global impact of China's virtual yuan. Japan, however, said they can't do it all by themselves and would need the support of the United States.