China is studying crypto as an investment tool, says PBoC deputy governor

Li Bo, recently appointed deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, or PBoC, reportedly spoke of the benefits of crypto as an investment vehicle, while highlighting the country’s regulatory uncertainty surrounding digital assets.

According to Chinese journalist Colin Wu, Li made the comments Sunday at the Boao Forum in South China. The head of the PBoC said there are still regulatory risks to the central bank, citing the earlier ban on initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges. Li reportedly said the PBoC will “continue to enforce current measures and practices” as it investigates potential regulatory changes, but seemed to recognize crypto’s investment potential.

“We believe that Bitcoin and stablecoins are encrypted assets,” said Li. “Encrypted assets are an investment option, not a currency itself. It is an alternative investment, not a currency itself. Therefore, we believe that crypto assets should play an important role in the future, either as an investment tool or as an alternative investment. ”

The deputy governor of the PBoC added that stablecoins issued by private companies may require “stricter regulatory rules” than Bitcoin (BTC), saying:

“If a stablecoin hopes to become a widely used means of payment in the future, it must be under strict supervision, just as banks or quasi-bank financial institutions must be under strict supervision.”

Li, one of seven deputies to PBoC Gov. Yi Gang and former Vice Mayor of China’s Chongqing Municipality, is seemingly taking a stronger position for the central bank to recognize crypto as a repository of value. His appointment as deputy governor was announced last week.

His comments come along with former PBoC president Zhou Xiaochua, also attending the Boao Forum, who seemed to differentiate between the ‘real economy’ and those in which digital currencies play a role:

“Finance is meant to serve the real economy. Be it digital currency or digital assets, it must be closely integrated with the real economy and serve the real economy. “

China’s central bank is currently testing the digital yuan project first proposed in 2014, and is now testing the digital currency in major cities across the country. Li added that the PBoC would “focus primarily on domestic use” for the digital yuan, saying China could consider “long-term” cross-border payments and transactions. The country is reportedly planning to adopt the digital currency during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.