Eight years ago, bitcoin was an experimental technology of interest only to a handful of enthusiasts. Today, China – which contains one in every five internet users – is mulling the idea of a national cryptocurrency.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been trialling a national digital currency based on the same underlying technology as Bitcoin. Here’s a description of how the blockchain works, but in summary – it’s decentralized, transparent and secure.
Governments worldwide have had a problematic relationship with Bitcoin. The US has held federal hearings on it, while at a state level New York has heavily regulated the cryptocurrency with its Bitlicense. Ecuador, Bolivia and Russia have all moved to ban Bitcoin outright, while other countries have taken their time working out what to do with the cryptocurrency.