Recent news that China’s central bank is undertaking trials of its planned digital currency electronic payment system has attracted more attention, particularly in international political circles, than its significance probably warrants.

After all, China is but one of many countries that have spent years preparing for a digital currency, and announced back in October last year that a digital renminbi was ready for release. Depending on the outcome of the current tests, it may be introduced next year, brought forward by the coronavirus pandemic – which has made consumers worry that physical cash could carry pathogens.

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