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China Crypto Roundup (April 13-April 20): China’s Ahead of the Game with Digital Yuan Kicks into Action

Ever since the coronavirus swept the globe, there have been fewer announcements within the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. While in this past week, blockchain-related news from China keeps on making the headlines. China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) digital yuan is tested, the country’s national blockchain infrastructure BSN launched, and the central government announced members of its national blockchain committee; in the crypto sector, the Chinese mining rig manufacturer MicroBT unveiled its latest 112T M30S++ miner.

China’s digital yuan to go live

China’s long-awaited digital currency, referred to as DC/EP (digital currency/electronic payment), is currently in a close test in the Agriculture Bank of China and will reportedly be tested as part of a transport subsidies scheme for local government and enterprises employees in the Xiangcheng District of Suzhou next month.

Four state-owned banks will issue the payments, they are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank. All governments and enterprises in the pilot region are required to install a digital wallet for their staff by the end of May.

China’s central bank has initiated the study on digital currency and its central bank digital currency (CBDC) early in 2014 when the cryptocurrency bitcoin began to gain popularity in the country. After more than 5 years of research, it finally moves into the public beta notwithstanding the coronavirus. According to official responses, the digital yuan will first be tested in cities including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an new area, Chengdu and the future site of the winter Olympics, and could have a more international outlook and be a part of the Belt and Road initiative in the future.

National blockchain infrastructure BSN launched

Bearing the same international outlook, the country’s national blockchain platform Blockchain Service Network (BSN) was launched last week on April 15 after a six-month long internal test. Its function for global commercial use is poised to launch on April 25.

The initiative, led by the State Information Center, a government agency under the National Development and Reform Commission, is a centralized platform that enables companies and software developers to easily and affordably develop, deploy and build blockchain-based applications and nodes.

According to its latest white paper, BSN is expected to take hold in various countries of the world and be “the only global infrastructure network that is innovated by China whose gateway access is controlled by China”. During the beta testing period that began on Oct. 15 of last year and ends Wednesday, more than 2,000 participants signed up.

In the private sector, China’s fintech giant Ant Financial, also launched a consortium blockchain platform this past week, which enables developers and small and micro enterprises (SMEs) to utilize innovative blockchain tools with higher efficiency and lower cost.

Blockchain committee members announced

The country’s central bank has also recently announced the members of its newly formed national blockchain committee. The committee, which will be tasked with setting standards for the burgeoning blockchain industry, will be headed by some of the most notable executives in the country.

The committee comprises of 71 members including government officials, senior executives from tech giants Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, etc, as well as associates or deans at some of China’s prestigious universities such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University and more.

With the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) releasing a detailed standard for blockchain technology earlier this year, and now the blockchain committee, the country has been setting a strong foundation for becoming a leader in distributed ledger technologies.

Bitcoin miner manufacturer MicroBT launched M30S++

Just recently, the China-based mining rig manufacturer MicroBT unveiled a new Whatminer series machine that claims to deliver hashrate up to 112 TH/s. The M30 models continue to present itself as the fiercest competitor to Bitmain’s latest Antminer S19 series.

Despite the coronavirus’ impact and CEO Yang Zuoxing entangled in legal issues with his former employer Bitmain, the company was able to remain the growth in its miner sales. At the launch event, the company’s COO said that its third flagship mining machine M20 series sold out in 2019 powered around 35% of the overall bitcoin network hashrate, which has been nibbling at the market share of Bitmain whose dominance of sold bitcoin hash rate had dropped to ~65% by the end of 2019 from ~75% in 2018.

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