At a recent speech in Hainan, China, Chinese government official Wu Xiaoling addressed the Sanya International Finance Forum and gave a speech titled, “From an information network to a financial network – How the finance industry can make use of information technology.” Wu Xiaoling is the former deputy director of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
Wu’s former employer, the PBOC, has previously taken a strong stance against Bitcoin and its use by Chinese banks and third party payment processors, causing some turmoil and closures.
Wu Xiaoling is also a current member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee as well as the dean of the Tsinghua University Wudaokou Finance College in their world renowned School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM). In her presentation and speech, full text available here, Wu started by saying:
While information technology will have a hard time changing money creation, it will have an easier time impacting the implementation of certain payment functions.
During her speech, she also said:
Private digital money can coexist with government money. […] Coexistence of private money and government money will be a normal part of our world.
Though Wu did not specifically mention Bitcoin (比特币) in her presentation and speech, she made it clear that her uses of the words “private digital money,” “virtual money,” and “algorithmic money” were referring to Bitcoin during the panel discussion, which involved Chinese Bitcoin exchange Huobi’s CEO Leon Lin. Wu ended her speech on this salient note:
A new value transfer network based on open-source, distributed information technology will reduce costs and increase efficiency; it is worthy of exploration and development.
Following the revealing words, Huobi posted the news to the Bitcoin subreddit and reminded the world that Wu is China’s “highest-ranking government official to have made such positive public statements about bitcoin.” Though, the National People’s Congress’s secondary position in Chinese politics relative to the Chinese Communist Party’s does tell us that Bitcoin education still has a ways further to advance within China’s government. Regardless, Wu’s words are a monumental development for the still-strong Chinese Bitcoin community.
Images from 小蒙牛 and Shutterstock.