Many citizens still didn’t believe the need to use a digital payment form and instead used Alipay (a subsidiary of Alibaba) and WeChat Pay (10cent) as their current method of payment.
Visa has been the exclusive payment processor for the Olympics for many years. However, Visa was challenged by the Chinese government at this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The Olympic Village offers the possibility to convert money with a card or mobile application.
Visitors can exchange foreign currency for eCNY by scanning their passports. This digital currency is being launched in China’s People’s Bank of China.
China launched the first pilot project for digital currency in 2019 but it was viewed as a project that had global ambitions after eCNY made its debut at the Olympics. China is the first major country in the world to establish a large-scale, digital currency. The US is not far behind.
China’s digital currency is still in its infancy. According to the People’s Bank of China, its official eCNY app has 261 million users as of the end of 2021. More than 100 billion yuan (or $14 billion), had been exchanged in 360 million transactions. These numbers are not significant in relation to China’s size and economy. However, they will increase following the expansion of two digital currency trials in China. You can find them in 40 cities and provinces.
The idea of a digital sovereign money is to improve efficiency and drive innovation in financial services. Tech experts see the country’s new project, called the digital currency, as a new form social control and state surveillance. Jeremy Fleming (head of British Intelligence Agency, GCHQ), warned that Beijing could use its digital currency to monitor its citizens. This would allow it to avoid international sanctions.
Contrary to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, the digital Yuan is not issued by a central bank in China. It does not rely upon a blockchain. The digital currency is the same as the real Yuan and consumers have the same experience with it.
The Wired was informed by a foreign national, who requested anonymity, that digital yuan payments had been accepted at several Fujian capital shops and supermarkets within days after the announcement.
The central government and local authorities are encouraging Chinese citizens to adopt the digital Yuan. The tests were conducted in Fujian province, which is located in the south of China and hosts much of international trade.