What Are China’s Goals Behind Its Digital Yuan?

Sung had been following the new currency project for nearly half a decade as the Chinese Communist Party has built out plans for a country-wide digital solution. The party accelerated that project, he believes, as a direct reaction to Facebook’s Libra.

Michael Sung, a professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, spoke to CoinDesk’s Michael Casey on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The topic? The intertwined growth of digital currency and blockchain projects in China.

How big a deal is it? And what are they actually doing? Sung had some surprising answers.

“So I think the world kind of noticed on Oct. 24 when Chinese President Xi Jinping stood up and basically announced two major things for that week”, said Sung. “First, there was something called the fourth plenary sessions for the CPC (Chinese Communist Party). It’s is one of the most important high-level government meetings to decide the strategy of what’s happening in China. Then they said they’re going live with the digital currency that they had been in planning since 2014.”

“Because of the Libra situation, Mu Changchun, who is the head of the official Digital Currency Research Institute, ran back to Beijing and held a special workshop for all the Communist officials and decided, ‘OK, get in front of this.’ But actually, in my opinion, that was the lesser of the news happened that week”, he said.

“The second piece of news was Xi Jinping announcing the country’s blockchain strategy”, said Sung. This was far more meaningful because, Sung noted, the president himself announced the digital yuan. In China, said Sung, this puts an official imprimatur on the plans and will make other governments take notice.

“This means it’s serious business and I think the implications of this blockchain strategy will be felt around the world because what it indicates is that China has developed a national strategy”, he said. “All the big players are trying to get in the game. But this is signaling that the central government is stepping in and sort of taking a central role.”

Web3 Studying How to Integrate Kadena’s Smart Contract Language on Polkadot

The Web3 Foundation is studying how to adopt blockchain startup Kadena’s Pact smart contract programming language for the Polkadot ecosystem.

The two organizations signed an agreement to kick off a research project studying how Pact can be integrated into different blockchain platforms, beginning with Polkadot, Kadena announced on Tuesday at CoinDesk’s Invest: NYC event.

Pact is designed to facilitate smart contract executions among developers that use different blockchains. Kadena hopes the language will become a smart contract standard, regardless of developers’ preferred blockchains.

The firm’s founder Stuart Popejoy unveiled the cross-chain smart contract language in June 2019 for “hybrid blockchains”, both public and private. Kadena claims Pact is one of the first “human-readable” languages to execute smart contracts with Formal Verification, a way of verifying algorithms’ “correctness” using mathematical methods.

Formerly called Chainweb, Kadena’s blockchain platform went live on Nov. 4, weaving together 10 proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains running concurrently. At the same time, the firm also announced a $20 million token sale.

The network tackles scaling challenges on existing PoW networks by running multiple blockchains concurrently, with shared merkle roots allowing for data to be shared across different networks.

Kadena raised $12 million through a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) sale in April 2018. Fidelity Investments’ private investor arm, Devonshire Investors, Multicoin Capital, Asimov Investments, SV Angel and SIG participated in the token sale

The company’s push to integrate blockchain platforms with a universal smart contract language came on the heels of the Web3 Foundation’s interoperability project that facilitates inclusion of different Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain platforms.

“Web3 Foundation looks forward to the results of Kadena’s forthcoming feasibility study, and learning more about the role the Pact language could play in the Polkadot ecosystem.” Dieter Fishbein, the foundation’s head of grants, said in a statement.

Started by ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, Polkadot launched its DOT token sale in July with a $1.2 billion valuation at the time. Three unnamed Chinese funds bought a certain portion of tokens with a valuation under $1 billion.

The Web3 Foundation, joined by Polychain Capital, set up a new investment fund to back Polkadot in October. The amount of this backing was not disclosed.

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