The 2022 Winter Olympics participants, visitors and organizers could be spending more than $300,000 in China’s digital yuan every day, according to new reports citing officials from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).
The e-CNY, China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), is being used to make 2 million yuan ($316,000) or more worth of payments each day, PBoC Digital Currency Research Institute director-general Mu Changchun said. The official provided the data during a webinar hosted by the Atlantic Council, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“I have a rough idea that there are several, or a couple of million digital yuan of payments every day, but I don’t have exact numbers yet,” Mu said, adding that there was no breakdown yet of the number of transactions made by Chinese nationals and foreign attendees.
The official still noted that foreign users tend to use hardware wallets more, referring to the e-CNY payment cards, which look like credit cards without the normal chip and magnetic strip. “The software wallets are mainly used by domestic users,” Mu added.
The reported amount is a significant contribution to China’s CBDC rollout, given that the total digital yuan transaction volumes had hit $13 billion by November 2021 since the Chinese CBDC was first launched in April 2020.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the PBoC has been widely promoting the use of the Chinese CBDC at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The state-controlled Bank of China set up a number of special ATMs at some central venues at the Games, allowing international guests to convert their foreign banknotes into e-CNY or normal yuan banknotes.
The digital yuan’s availability has triggered some concerns over cybersecurity and privacy from the global community, with some United States senators reportedly viewing the digital yuan as a “tremendous security threat to individual users.” In late 2021, British spy chief Jeremy Fleming argued that the CBDC use could allow Beijing to monitor users and control global transactions despite presenting a great opportunity to democratize payment systems.
While actively pushing CBDC adoption, China has taken an extremely anti-cryptocurrency stance, with the government banning all crypto transactions in September 2021. According to the latest reports, as many as 2 million crypto mining devices are stuck in China’s former crypto mining hub, the Sichuan province, after the government halted operations. Miners attempting to move operations to North America have reportedly lost millions of dollars while trying to export crypto mining hardware.