China's digital currency research is delayed amid coronavirus

China's research into its national digital currency has reportedly been delayed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

"The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People's Bank of China," an anonymous source close to the matter told The Global Times on Tuesday. The launch of digital yuan, however, could go ahead as planned.

This is because the central bank has "abundant talent" and a technological roadmap to catch up with the process. The pilot run is also said to be carried out as scheduled this year.

China's digital yuan, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), is expected to make a debut later this year. But the launch date remains unknown.

Last month, the central bank said digital yuan is "progressing smoothly" and that its "top-level" design has been completed.

China's much-anticipated digital yuan will be first distributed to commercial banks and then users and businesses can register digital wallets with these commercial banks. The first cities to pilot digital currency are said to be Shenzhen and Suzhou.