The Chinese regime is planning to promote its newly-developed digital yuan at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. Experts have warned the digital currency could threaten the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the future.
The Winter Olympics is several weeks away. The Chinese regime’s official news agency Xinhua said earlier this month the digital yuan is ready to serve during the games: People can use it “either through wallet apps installed on their mobile phones or via physical wallets in the forms of cards and wearables such as smart watches and ski gloves or badges.”
But U.S. politicians have warned American athletes to keep away.
Congressman Lance Gooden (R-Texas), joined by Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R- Okla.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), and Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) sent a letter on Dec. 16 to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, urging them to forbid American athletes from acquiring or using the new form of currency during the games. It “may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return.” the letter read.
Digital yuan, or e-CNY, is a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued and regulated by a country’s monetary authority.
Unlike cryptocurrency, another type of digital currency exemplified by bitcoin which is decentralized and able to evade supervision, CBDC is highly centralized and closely monitored by governments.
China’s CBDC is overseen by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), its central bank. In contrast to U.S. financial institutions touting privacy protection, all China’s counterparts must “cooperate” with the party to submit clients’ personal information unconditionally if the authorities deem necessary.
A 2020 report by the Atlantic Council think tank said that, due to digital currency’s electronic footprints and PBOC’s monitoring of digital wallets activities, the Chinese regime can trace every movement of digital yuan as well as the identity of all transacting parties.