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The Cross-Border Interbank Payment System: A Case Study in Chinese Economic Leadership


Investigations seeking to explain the rise of China rarely investigate the many new institutions founded to increase China’s economic success and influence over global affairs. In the economic sector, some better-known projects include the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the New Development Bank. One of the newest and least understood institutions founded to promote international use of the RMB is the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS). The purpose of this research is to examine the development, policies, and goals of CIPS in order to better understand the phenomenon of Chinese-lead international economic institutions. Novel evidence for CIPS’s intention to adopt blockchain technology and provide services for currencies other than the RMB is presented. The conclusion to this research is that CIPS is presently too small to pose a threat to the existing SWIFT network or predominance of US dollar transactions in international trade. At the same time, CIPS evidences a patient and rational strategy designed to reform international norms and patterns of trade to China’s advantage in the long term.

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