China to pass cryptography law in preparation for launching digital currency

China is treating blockchain technology as a foundational building block for future science and technology innovations.

Late on Saturday, in a development that marks China gearing up to launch its own digital currency, the country’s rubber stamp parliament passed a new law on cryptography, reported state media late on Saturday.

In 2014, China’s central bank had set up a research team to explore the possibility of launching its own digital currency in order to cut the costs of circulating traditional paper money and boost policymakers’ control of money supply.

Last month, a senior official from China’s central bank had disclosed, its proposed new digital currency will share some similarities to Facebook Inc’s Libra coin; once launched it will be available across major payment platforms, including WeChat and Alipay.

China’s cryptography law, scheduled to take effect on January 1 2019, is aimed at “facilitating the development of the cryptography business and ensuring the security of cyberspace and information”, reads a report from the official Xinhua news agency citing parliament.

Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping had said China should accelerate the development of blockchain technology as a core for innovation.

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