Efforts to combat the Corona virus could speed up the Chinese central bank's plans to issue a digital currency, according to the former head of the Chinese central bank.
In an interview with China Daily on February 16th, Li Hui Li argued that digital currency's efficiency, cost-effectiveness and convenience makes it particularly desirable during periods of crisis and epidemics.
Li previously assumed the presidency of the People's Bank of China (the Central Bank) and now serves as the chief leader of the state-run National Internet Finance Association.
To prevent the virus from spreading through material criticism, the government imposed quarantine on some old paper notes
It distributed 600 billion yuan ($ 85.9 billion) with new money in the "Huobei" region, where the virus originated.
Meanwhile, millions of people are restricted to their homes by government order, making it difficult to make payments in person.
Dong Yang, a professor at Renmin University of China who studies blockchain and digital economics research, said:
Completely global and alternative currencies - as well as other forms of digital payment such as those offered by AliPay and WeChat Pay - will become popular.
Lee also indicated that the adoption of any digital currency supported by the central bank is still partly dependent on demand from the retail market in China, which is currently dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay.
China’s modern and emerging electronic payment platforms are very mature, and WeChat and Alipay online payment platforms ranked first and second in the world.