After assembling a research team in 2014, the People’s Bank of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That’s taking it a step closer to becoming one of the first major central banks to issue digital money that can be used for anything. A PBOC-backed cryptocurrency probably wouldn’t seem much different to existing payment methods such as Alipay or WeChat. But for sellers, they would get digital payments directly from the buyer, lowering transaction costs as the middleman is cut out of the process. At the same time as it builds up its own capabilities, the PBOC is increasing scrutiny of bitcoin and other private digital tenders. According to Bloomberg, China doesn’t want a bitcoin bubble to blow up, and it also doesn’t want to cede the cryptocurrency space to companies it has no control over.