The Chinese government is hoping to use the Olympic games to highlight the digital yuan’s global clout less than a month before the event kicks off and with the event already dogged by diplomatic boycotts and the threat of virus outbreaks.
Bank of China Ltd., which is an official partner of the games and a state lender, said that visitors can download an app, get a physical card or convert foreign currency at self-service machines to use in the games.
It is possible to purchase goods and services using the wristbands, which act as e-wallets.
Considering heightened political tensions surrounding the games and concerns over data security, it remains to be seen whether foreign athletes adopt the digital yuan.
The U.S Olympic Committee in July was requested by three Republican Senators to prohibit American athletes from using such digital currencies, due to concerns over espionage and data security.
The shops inside the Olympic Village, where athletes are living and spending most of their free time, as well as shops near the venues, are equipped with machines that accept digital yuan payments.
Since 2020, the People’s Bank of China has been running tests across about a dozen regions throughout the country in order to promote e-CNY after making steady progress. The Winter Olympics officially begin on Feb. 4.
According to government officials, 140 million people had opened yuan digital accounts by early November, although the majority of residents use Alipay and WeChat Pay to make their daily payments. After Tencent launched e-CNY services on WeChat last week, both apps now support digital yuan payments.
JD.com Inc., Trip.com Group Ltd., and Meituan are some of the other Internet giants that accept e-CNY payments
Even though there is no timetable for an official rollout of the digital currency, the PBOC has taken a step toward that goal by releasing a test version of the digital yuan app on Android and iOS stores last week. The app can be downloaded by trial zone residents and accounts can be created.
By scanning a QR code or tapping their phone on a payment device, users can make and receive payments by transferring money from their bank accounts to the e-wallet. Before, consumers had to request a private link from their bank staff in order to download the eWallet.
Providing foreign visitors with a good digital yuan experience is a key task and challenge, said the bank in a statement.
We will strive to ensure good service during the game, and our operations, customer service, emergency response and other teams have been preparing intensively.”