Beijing is set to build a “legal digital currency pilot area” as part of its new Beijing Pilot Free Trade Zone initiative – although the project’s masterminds have stopped short of providing details as to what sort of tokens will be given the green light.
Per the Beijing News, via news agency Xinhua, the project will see “a legal digital currency pilot zone” built up along with an accompanying “digital financial system.”
Its mastermind, the Beijing mayoral office, also spoke about the role of blockchain technology in trade financing and cross-border trade initiatives, with the capital’s deputy mayor stating that city authorities intended to “build a system for the of blockchain technology for use in trade financing standardization.”
Plans for a new free trade zone were first unveiled late last month, along with parallel plans for similar projects in the southern province of Hunan and the eastern Anhui Province. All three received formal approval from the Chinese cabinet.
The central government also explained at the time, also per Xinhua, that the free trade zones would seek to “construct innovation centers with a global influence,” adding that they would serve as “pilot areas for the digital economy.”
However, no mention at the time was made about the role of either blockchain technology or “digital currencies.”
Initial coin offerings (ICOs), crypto exchanges and payment using cryptoassets have been illegal since 2017 in China, although the government is already testing its own digital currency in a number of testbed sites – including Beijing.
The mayor’s office made no mention of timelines or budget allocations in its latest announcement.