China's SEC May Soon Have a Crypto-Savvy Department Chief: Report

China's securities watchdog is reported to be hiring Yao Qian, the former head of the central bank's digital currency initiative, as the chief of its new tech regulation bureau.

AccessTimeIconDec 11, 2019 at 10:15 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:47 a.m. UTC
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China's securities watchdog is reportedly setting up a technology regulation bureau and may soon appoint Yao Qian, the former head of China's central bank digital currency initiative, as its new department chief.

According to a report from Chinese business publication Caijing on Wednesday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has announced Yao's appointment on its internal bulletin.

The markets had anticipated Yao's hiring due to his contribution to the development of the People's Bank of China's central bank digital currency (CBDC) and deep understanding of financial technologies, especially blockchain, Caijing said.

The new division has been set up in with the aim of integrating more advanced technology into the regulation of China's securities markets, enabling more comprehensive and precise data analytics.

As an official who has demonstrated a strong grasp of cryptocurrency, Yao has spearheaded the central bank's digital currency research lab since the initiative launched and has been cited as either a sole author or co-author of dozens of patent applications relating to China's CBDC technology.

In an op-ed for CoinDesk in 2017, Yao detailed his thoughts on how a central bank digital currency could work as M0 (cash in circulation) and co-exist with banking accounts – a model that appears very similar to what China's CBDC will reportedly offer as it approaches launch.

Yao's contribution to China's CBDC followed 2016 remarks by Xiaochuan Zhou, the PBoC's governor at the time, on the development of a state digital currency.

Yao left the PBoC to head a securities clearinghouse in October 2018, but his anticipated new role at the CSRC would mark his return to the Chinese financial market regulatory realm.

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