Značka: olympics

Digital yuan transactions beat out Visa at Winter Olympics venue: report

On the day of the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, there were reportedly more transactions made in China’s central bank digital currency than those through Visa.In a Wednesday report from the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the matter said transactions in digital yuan significantly outnumbered those of Visa on Feb. 4 at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest — the location of the opening ceremony of the 34th Olympic Winter Games. However, many of the retailers allowing purchases with China’s central bank digital currency, the digital yuan — or e-CNY — were outside the Olympics’ quarantine “bubble” for athletes, journalists, and staff.Bird’s Nest on the night of Feb. 4, when the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics was held. pic.twitter.com/QjUTOPa6Hr— XIE Yongjun 解勇军 (@XIEYongjun_CN) February 4, 2022According to the report, those within the bubble have the option of paying for goods or services with cash, Visa, and digital yuan, and there are many automated machines allowing people to exchange fiat currency for e-CNY. Coupled with the likely intention of reducing contact between individuals in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it seems the country’s digital currency is pulling ahead of Visa — at least in an environment with limited use cases that includes participation from Chinese consumers.“Replacing cash with digital yuan for payment can effectively reduce direct contact between people and the risk of the spread of Covid-19,” reportedly said the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Games. Though payments using mobile apps like Alipay, WeChat Pay, and others are generally accepted at many retailers in China, these methods aren’t allowed at the Winter Games due to an exclusivity contract with Visa. The credit card company has reportedly not pushed back against the digital yuan payment options, possibly because it is awaiting approval of a domestic license application to operate in China. CNN reported on Jan. 31 that the first international test run of China’s CBDC is facing hurdles due to the pandemic, with officials limiting the number of people allowed to enter the country. Though China hasn’t released data on the number of digital yuan transactions or athletes using the CBDC, U.S. lawmakers have warned Americans participating in the games of the potential dangers of testing the digital currency, including threatening U.S. interests in cross-border payments. Related: China’s central bank releases pilot version of digital yuan walletAt the time of publication, Cointelegraph was unable to find any reports of athletes claiming to have used the digital yuan for food or other essentials. The Wall Street Journal reported both the president of the Dutch Olympic Committee and a former Beijing resident now involved in television coverage of the games implied there was little point in using the digital currency when Visa was available. The Winter Olympics are scheduled to conclude on Feb. 20.

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US lawmakers issue warnings about digital yuan as Winter Olympics kicks off

With the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics completed and all competing athletes currently in China, two members of Congress are warning of the potential dangers of using digital yuan at the events.According to a Friday report from Reuters, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday expressing concern that the Chinese government could use the games to promote greater adoption of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan. The country has been conducting trials of the CBDC since April 2020, later announcing foreign athletes and visitors would have the opportunity to use it during their time at the Olympic Games.Toomey claimed that the digital yuan rollout among an international crowd could help to set a standard in cross-border payments, potentially threatening U.S. interests. The Federal Reserve has floated the idea of releasing a digital dollar, but has not reached a decision to do so. The Pennsylvania Senator reportedly asked the State and Treasury Departments to report on the number of foreign visitors using China’s digital yuan to determine if the Olympics rollout could provide any useful information for U.S. officials considering a CBDC.“The importance of remaining a leader in the global digital economy and supporting new innovations like digital currencies is a significant domain of strategic competition with other countries, including China,” said Toomey.Many U.S. lawmakers are offering their support for those competing at the games, with some, including Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer, offering a last-minute warning to athletes not to use digital yuan while in China. Emmer has previously referred to China as living under “digital authoritarianism” in proposing legislation to limit the Fed’s ability to issue a CBDC.Good luck to all the @TeamUSA athletes competing in the Olympics. Word to the wise – Do. Not. Accept. Any. Digital. Yuan.— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) February 4, 2022In July, a group of three senators sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee claiming that the Chinese Communist Party could use the CBDC to surveil visiting athletes both while at the games and upon their return to the United States. The committee reportedly suggested members of Team USA leave their smartphones at home and only use “burner” phones while in China, given the former could be infected with “malicious software.” At the time of publication, the Team USA Instagram page continues to post its own stories and share those from participating athletes’ accounts.Related: COVID restrictions stymie digital yuan rollout at Beijing Winter OlympicsThe Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is the first major testing ground for the country’s CBDC among a broad group of international visitors. Since its launch almost two years ago, transactions using the digital yuan have totaled more than $13 billion, with roughly 10 million merchants activating digital wallets for the CBDC by November 2021.

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