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China is getting ready to launch its own digital currency

The country's cash system could become largely digital soon

Photograph: @央行微播 via Weibo
Cash in China is about to get an upgrade. The country has been working on a digital currency called DC/EP for the past five years, according to Technode. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is the central bank behind the project and aims to complete the coin before Singles' Day on November 11 to compete with Facebook's Libra, another digital currency set to launch next year.

Forbes reports that the currency will be distributed with help from major tech companies like Tencent and Alibaba. The PBOC hopes to make the currency available for use in the US and elsewhere through relationships with correspondent banks in the West eventually.

DC/EP is made for quick transactions and allows transfers between users without a bank account or an internet connection by placing two phones in physical contact. Based on reports from the South China Morning Post and the Independent, the digital currency will allow easier tracing and data analysis for the bank and reduce the operating costs that come with producing and distributing paper money. While the digital currency won't require users to own a bank account, a smartphone is necessary.

China may be advancing towards a more digital lifestyle, but since only about half of its 1.3 billion citizens own smartphones, looks like not everyone will be getting involved just yet.

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