China is set to introduce its state digital currency, e-CNY, as an official means of payment at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin on Friday.
According to a statement from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), all Olympics-related payment services have been prepared, including accounts, bank cards, mobile payments, cash and digital yuan.
e-CNY is the digital currency of China’s central bank (CBDC), which is essentially a clone of fiat yuan in the form of a digital asset. Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, which are banned in China, e-CNY is fully controlled and governed by the central bank.
The e-CNY is already accepted at the official store of the Beijing Olympics at the Main Media Center (MMC), which officially started 24-hour operations on Monday.
The Olympics will be part of a phased rollout of e-CNY, which has already been tested in five major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen. On January 4, the PBOC also launched the e-CNY wallet on iOS and Android app stores nationwide. As of mid-January, e-CNY wallets had nearly 261 million individual users, about one-fifth of the entire Chinese population, with e-CNY apps ranking as the fastest growing. in terms of downloads in the country.
However, the e-CNY is still in pilot mode. Although the wallet is available for download nationwide, only users in the five pilot cities and the Olympic venue can register and use the digital currency. For now, e-CNY can only be used for a limited number of transactions.
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