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China Preparing to Wow World with Digital Yuan at Winter Olympics

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

China appears to be targeting the 2022 Winter Olympics as a showcase for the digital yuan – and will hope to show a global audience how fast and effective its new payment system is.

The national Stadium (a.k.a. Bird’s Nest) built for 2008 Summer Olympics and will be used again in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Source: Adobe/coward_lion

Beijing is set to host the next Winter Games, slated to begin on February 4, 2022. And although the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is yet to announce a date for the digital yuan’s rollout, the PBoC-issued token is now in advanced testing at a number of sites including venues in the capital that are associated with the Olympics.

Per Beijing Business Today (via Eastmoney), experts familiar with the digital yuan project have claimed that there is “still a long way to go” before the token gets its official launch date – but there is a feeling that the PBoC will have the token ready for full operation well before the Olympic flame is lit in Beijing on February 4, 2022.

The media outlet noted that in recent months, PBoC and other officials have “repeatedly mentioned the promotion of digital RMB-related Winter Olympics pilot applications,” and said digital yuan tests are “in full swing” at Olympic sites.

The media outlet quoted a financial sector expert as stating that China expects the Winter Olympics will draw in a large number of domestic and foreign athletes and spectators, driving up the demand for payment services in the capital.

And the PBoC reportedly sees this as an opportunity to build a payment service environment that will provide the digital yuan with its first true real-world test on the global level, with the opportunity for mass cross-border transactions including assorted payment providers and banking platforms from all over the world.

A financial markets analyst was quoted as adding that the application of the digital RMB for cross-border payments during the Winter Olympics “will help accelerate the global promotion” of the digital currency.

Putting the digital RMB for global users, to the test at hotels, restaurants, stadiums and other facilities, the PBoC appears to believe, will help dazzle potential adopters of its token, which it hopes will eventually make major waves on the international arena – and possibly even reduce Asia’s dependence on the USD in international trade deals.
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