Chinese Yuan No Longer The Only People's Currency
from the more-effective-than-angry-trade-reps dept
One of the chief policy concerns for the Chinese government, in recent years, has been the value of the national currency, the Yuan. The government is convinced that for the time being, it must artificially manipulate its value, so as to preserve the robust economy. But while it can intervene to affect the Yuan, it has little control over alternative currencies, such as those found online. It’s apparently concerned that an online currency called QQ, maintained by a large IM system, could induce unwanted, real-world volatility, as people start using the QQ as a substitute for the Yuan to buy certain goods and services. For the most part, it’s hard to imagine that this could be too destabilizing. It’s mainly for the purposes of international trade that China wants a stable Yuan, and it’s unlikely that too many manufacturers will start accepting payments in QQ. Still, the Chinese government tends to feel threatened anytime people are able to express themeselves spontaneously, in some manner outside of endorsed channels, hence the constant internet censorship. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see it take a similarly confrontational stance towards alternative currencies. The legal implications of virtual worlds and currencies are just starting to be debated in the US; it should be very interesting to see how things differ when the anarchic freedom found in them collides with stricter societies and economies.