Chinese authorities are accelerating the development and implementation of their own digital currency to stimulate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic and counter possible sanctions by the United States, reports the Global Times.

The publication cites an insider commentary from the blockchain industry of Beijing Cao Yin:

“Although the US hasn’t put Chinese financial firms and institutions onto its Entity List, the US may still pose widespread threats to Chinese institutions and impact the yuan’s standing in international settlement. In this regard, China’s state-run digital currency may be rolled out sooner than expected to counter a possible US block”.

He added that the digital currency will help in the fight against the economic crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic. With its help, the money will go to significant sectors of the economy and firms that are most in need of support.

The official launch date for the digital currency has not been set. The head of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, said on the agency’s website that at the moment pilot tests are being conducted in four cities. He added that digital currency will be used during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

Earlier media reported that the digital yuan will be distributed to Chinese officials in May.