In the backdrop of this year’s 2022 Winter Olympic season in Beijing China, a subtle undertone of digital currency buzz is being debuted.
Similar to the growing presence and increasing public awareness of the crypto space in the United States (see Crypto.com’s latest Matt Damon celebrity endorsement commercial), China has been testing and rolling out it’s digital yuan currency e-CNY since late 2019.
- China’s-Beijing Olympic Games will be the first time for international users to utilize a national government-backed virtual currency.
- e-CNY encourages mass adoption, lowers entry barriers, and allows for cross-border usage.
- Several countries, including Brazil, Cambodia, and China, are implementing a government-backed digital currency.
For years, China was a crypto host country until it imposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies and mining. Following the ban, the People’s Bank of China subsequently launched a digital currency dubbed e-CNY.
China`s e-CNY at the Olympics
The Olympic Games are the first opportunity for international users to use a central bank-backed sovereign digital currency. Visitors to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing will be able to download a digital yuan wallet app or store their virtual cash on a physical card. Additionally, they may acquire wristbands designed for wireless payments.
More than 400,000 applications and numerous trial activities in Beijing have bolstered the appeal of China’s digital currency. According to analysts, the current e-CNY mass adoption opens up the possibility for a bigger national roll-out and cross-border usage.
Since 2014, the PBOC has been researching digital currency, and its government has worked on laws to regulate it. China’s digital currency will be tested during the Olympics when the government will use it for the first time with foreign visitors.
Following more than a year of pilot projects in around a dozen cities across the country, the digital yuan’s global debut for overseas consumers during the Winter Olympics is another chapter in China’s efforts to increase international trade and attract foreign investment.
Visitors to Beijing will use digital yuan to pay for food, transportation, and other items and services.
e-CNY for foreigners and Chinese citizens
Last month, the PBOC launched a test version of its e-CNY digital currency wallet software on Apple and Android app stores. Since its introduction in late 2019, the digital yuan has been accessible in 11 Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Beijing.
More than 140 million individual wallets have been created as of October 22, 2021, with roughly 62 billion yuan transactions. At the same time, 1.55 million merchants accept digital yuan wallet transactions in areas such as public utilities, food services, transportation, retail, and administrative services.
Officials have streamlined the procedure to make it simpler for foreign tourists to spend the digital yuan during the Winter Olympics. Now people can create digital yuan wallets even if they do not have a local bank account.
The digital yuan’s growth will not stop at Chinese borders. For example, visitors from China can use the payment method to pay for purchases abroad. Countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative can utilize digital currency in trade and investment.
Beijing has a large lead over many international rivals in creating a national electronic currency, but it isn’t a global leader. The Bahamas was the first to release sand dollars in October 2020.
With its Bakong and eastern Caribbean countries with their DCash, Cambodia is also one of the frontrunners in the e-currency competition.
Nigeria has previously been recognized for having the most internet users on the continent. In addition, it was the first African country to offer a digital currency — eNaira — in October last year.
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