A vocal crypto skeptic was named a top Communist Party official at China’s central bank over the weekend, raising further doubts about whether the nation’s tough stance against crypto could really melt away as the area is warming nearby.
China banned all crypto transactions in 2021, but recently Hong Kong has softened its stance, leading some industry experts to speculate that China will follow suit. But despite the recent success of Hong Kong moves in the digital asset space, Pan Gongsheng’s nomination to the People’s bank of china signals change is unlikely soon, Bloomberg reported.
In an unusually candid speech at an event in 2017, Pan cited a study by French professor Eric Clichet in predicting Bitcoin’s impending death.
“If you sit by the river and watch, one day Bitcoin’s corpse will float before you,” he said during an earlier crackdown on digital assets by Beijing. according to local media.
At the time, Pan also defended China’s regulatory actions against crypto, saying he was “a little scared” to think about what would have happened if China hadn’t clamped down on digital assets, according to Bloomberg.
As a senior central bank party official, Pan will have significant influence over policy and is now in the running to be the next governor of the PBOC.
His appointment comes as Hong Kong has increasingly signaled its friendliness towards digital assets. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority sent a letter in April to several of its largest banks asking why they weren’t accepting crypto clientsaccording to a report from FinancialTimes.
Last month, the region also said it was going ahead with a plan to allow limited crypto trading on certain exchanges. Like the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to initiate enforcement action against crypto-related businesses, some have expressed interest in moving overseas. In April, more than 20 companies from mainland China, Europe, Canada and Singapore said they were moving some operations to Hong Kong, and 80 others had expressed interest in doing so, according to official figures reported by the the wall street journal.
Notable crypto industry figures have also fueled speculation that Hong Kong could be a test case that could lead to China ending its ban. On May 27, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao noted in a tweet the “interesting timing” of a Web3 white paper released by two Chinese government committees ahead of the June plan to license some crypto exchanges.
Interesting moment on this Web 3.0 white paper from the Beijing government technical committee with the anticipation of June 1 in Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/0Ts1UB0jnL
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) May 27, 2023
Earlier this year, co-founder and chairman of crypto exchange Gemini, Cameron Winklevoss, said in a tweet that he thought the next crypto bull run would not be based in the United States.
“My working thesis (for now) is that the next bull run will start in the East,” Winklevoss wrote.