• Bitcoin unchanged much from yesterday’s slide but deeper losses prevented
  • China has confirmed digital yuan trials in four cities, as blockchain is confirmed as part of its future data and tech infrastructure

Bitcoin price has not returned to higher levels, although, on the other hand, attempts by bulls to pile on the selling pressure after yesterday’s disastrous outing for crude oil also failed, which brings attention to the underlying strength of crypto markets preventing more losses.

Whatever the price today, blockchain technology itself continues to enjoy hugely bullish overtones in China, where the central bank has just confirmed last week’s rumors that a new mobile app that will be using a form of digital yuan is undergoing tests in four selected cities.

Screenshots had emerged last week on social media, as BitcoinNews.com reported, but the People’s Bank of China has come forward to confirm their authenticity. It has, however, downplayed the significance of these tests, insisting that they are merely internal tests for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) for the same cities named on a test app registration page: Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’An and Chengdu. Its announcement, issued by the China Digital Currency Institute, read:

“The rumored information about the DECP [national digital currency] on the internet is part of the test in our research and development process and it does not mean the digital yuan has been launched officially.”

These internal tests are within closed circuits and will not have any effect on the commercial activities of the firms involved, nor will they affect national financial markets or fiat currency circulation outside the test environment. These tests are intended to continue throughout the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in 2022.

It was just six years ago when the idea of a virtual yuan surfaced, when the same bank put up a task force to study its potential. Once approved by the State Council, large state-owned commercial banks and other institutions began work on a system for it three years later, but as recently as August last year, the central bank denied any plans for a CBDC.

Whatever the outcome of digital yuan, the underlying blockchain technology will certainly be in the country’s future infrastructure for data and technology, or so claims the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) today. The influential institution told the press that blockchain and other emerging technologies including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) would form the foundations of Chinese national systems to manage information flows.

The NDRC was formerly called the State Planning Commission, and is a cabinet-level department that is responsible for drafting economic policies and strategies, with a wide mandate to look into all manner of economic activities, from public transport investments, to corporate debt issuance and anti-monopoly investigations.

High-tech director Wu Hao declared:

“[the NDRC would]… work with relevant departments to study and issue relevant guidance to promote the development of new infrastructure [and] revise and improve the access rules that are conducive to the sustainable and healthy development of emerging industries.”

Of course, as is usually the case, not much specifics was provided, but a subsidiary of the authority has already been progressing on a Blockchain Service Network (BSN) that should give firs blockchain application development tools. Already available for local commerce, it is expected to give global companies access this week.


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