On March 28, 2018, China's central bank held its National Currency Gold and Silver Work Video and Telephone Conference. The meeting summarized China's recent financial initiatives as they pertain to gold, silver, and broader digital economic transformation, and also featured notable commentary on digital currencies from Deputy Governor Fan Yifei of the People's Bank of China (PBoC).
In his speech, Yifei emphasized the importance of 2018 for China's long-term economic strategy, and discussed how the central bank's gold and silver department used problem-oriented, market-oriented, and livelihood-oriented "philosophy, style and methods" to promote reform and innovation in "key areas" of "currency bullion" as well as "currency gold and silver business."
Relatedly, Yifei discussed further efforts being made by China to "strengthen the management" of gold and silver, improve anti-counterfeit currency work, and develop its central bank digital currency (CBDC), which Yifei "steadily promoted," according to an official press release.
Drawing attention to new challenges and opportunities inherent in the developing digital economy under President Xi Jinping, Yifei outlined three tenets for China's continued economic development:
- The intensification of economic reform and innovation – including research and development of the central bank's digital currency – as well as "currency issuance" and "management methods."
- The constant improvement of the cash service infrastructure.
- The strengthening of "internal management" and "external supervision" for China's currency, the renminbi, especially as it pertains to "large-sum cash management" and the establishment of a "supervision system" for domestically operated clearing houses to "carry out rectification of various types of virtual currencies."
Generally speaking, much of what China hopes to accomplish regarding its digital development has already been defined by both the "spirit" of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, where China's ideological objectives and top leadership were established last October, as well as by the 5th National Financial Work Conference of the Party, which was last held last July.
After previously outlawing ICOs in September 2017 in a government crackdown, China began exploring its own cryptocurrency initiatives, including a state-backed cryptocurrency currently being examined by the PBoC's Digital Currency Research Institute.