China is preparing for the launch of its own state-backed cryptocurrency by removing online posts claiming that blockchain technology is a scam.
It marks a significant shift in the country’s policy towards blockchain and comes just days after President Xi Jinping hailed it as an “important breakthrough” that should be developed.
China’s central bank began exploring the possibility of creating a cryptocurrency in 2014, however bitcoin exchanges and other cryptocurrency platforms in the country were effectively banned. Until now, the state has also cracked down on any posts on social media relating to bitcoin.
The U-turn was revealed by CNLedger, a cryptocurrency news resource that focuses on developments in China. It noted that adverts for blockchain courses had begun appearing on popular apps and social media sites in the country, adding that “articles saying blockchain technology is a scam are now banned”.
China has also passed a new law, which will come into effect on 1 January, aimed at “facilitating the development of the cryptography business and ensuring the security of cyberspace and information”.
It is understood that the new law will precede the launch of China’s state-backed cryptocurrency, which is expected to be unveiled early next year. No specific dates have been given but in August a senior official at China’s central bank said it was “close to being out”.
China’s interest in the space appears to have had a positive impact on already established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which some say add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry.