Digital currency

A woman holds US dollar banknotes in this illustration taken 30 May 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

Quit the dollar: Can Asia build its own digital currency and digital payment infrastructure?

Calls for de-dollarisation have increased since the financial sanctions of the Ukraine war and the very real threat of the US dollar being weaponised. In this context, academic Pei Sai Fan explains why conditions are ripe for China and Asia to offer innovative alternatives, such as developing regional digital currency cooperation in the payment and settlement of regional trade and investment, and expediting the development of new cross-border digital payment infrastructure in Asia known as multi-CBDC platform projects.
Young women look at panorama of Moskva River and Kremlin at a viewpoint in central Moscow, Russia, 22 March 2022. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

Will de-dollarisation help China and Russia shape a new world order?

Russia and China have a common interest in being less reliant on the dollar in the face of sanctions or anticipated sanctions. But are they moving at the same pace and will their efforts be significant enough to achieve self-reliance and precipitate a sea change in the global economic order?
An attendee wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset takes part in a concert experience in the metaverse at the SK Telecom Co. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona venue in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2022. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

Metaverse: What is it and who's in control?

The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
People ride bicycles along the promenade at Marina Bay in Singapore on 21 December 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Singapore, Hong Kong vie for wallets of rich Chinese in tech sector

The battle is heating up as Hong Kong and Singapore both vie for the wallets of rich Chinese in the tech sector. With the idea of family offices gaining popularity in recent years, will Hong Kong or Singapore have the edge over the other?
Visitors walk in front of "HOLD ONTO YOUR BITCOIN" by Gustav Szabo, known as Szabotage, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

The uncertain future of NFTs in China

The non-fungible token (NFT) is a growing phenomenon in China, despite a cautious regulatory environment and official hostility to cryptocurrencies, which also use blockchain technology. But experts warn that as with every technology, particularly new ones, there is also a risk of misuse, such as in instances of fraud or compromised accounts.
This photo on 26 November 2021 shows journalists gathered at a train station in Kunming to join a preview ride on the China-Laos railway, which is set to start operating in early December 2021. (CNS)

Laos hopes for economic boost with the opening of Laos-China railway

ISEAS academic Nick Freeman says that Laos’ first major railway, inaugurated on 3 December 2021, will create a new link with the Chinese market and has the potential to be a game changer for the Lao economy. This comes at a good time, as Laos seeks post-pandemic recovery in 2022. But the opening of the railway alone does not guarantee such a prospect. While the railway might boost industries such as tourism and exports, leading to a shift away from traditional sectors such as power generation and mineral mining, Laos needs to develop economic "muscle tissue" to ensure that the potential of the railway is translated into tangible results through investing in both hard and soft infrastructure.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
Computer games are seen at a store in Beijing, China, on 10 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Will overregulation kill Chinese firms' metaverse ambitions?

The metaverse is the latest tech industry buzzword that has generated great interest among Chinese tech companies and China's capital market. Not everyone is equally enthusiastic, however, as Chinese authorities appear to be taking a cautious approach, attempting to strike a balance between regulatory control and the risk of stifling innovation. Caixin explores what's in store for the metaverse.
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100 RMB banknotes in this illustration picture taken on 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency has huge potential, but be careful of overregulation

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) can potentially optimise and vastly improve the central bank’s monetary policy transmission with preset conditions to incorporate forward-looking and counter-cyclical features. This means that central banks can accurately control the amount, direction and intensity of liquidity or money supply flowing to the desired industries, thereby allowing industries to achieve an optimal level of production and reduce the risk of inflation or deflation. Earlier this year, China tracked and paid wages to builders in Xiong’an using its digital RMB, e-CNY. Is this a harbinger of things to come?