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China’s Winter Olympic Digital Yuan Gets Frosty Reception from Some ‘Foreigners’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Adobe/makedonski2015


China is continuing in its efforts to wow the world with its digital yuan at the Winter Olympic Games, which got underway on Friday last week. But it appears that not all attendees – both Chinese and overseas visitors – have been blown away by the token’s usability.

A Wall Street Journal reporter was astonished by the fact that popular e-payment platforms like Alipay were not accepted at Winter Olympic venues and remarked that she had “not seen anyone” use the digital CNY “yet.”

The Beijing Business Today quoted a Winter Olympics attendee who asked for their identity to be withheld as stating that although the digital CNY was “the fastest” and “most convenient” payment option for domestic attendees to use at the games, “foreigners” they had seen tended to use “Visa cards more” than the only other to payment options allowed at venues: cash or the e-CNY.

Regardless, it appears that just about every type of e-CNY wallet imaginable has already been rolled out in time for the games – ranging from smart cards with NFC technology to wearable wristbands.

Others took to social media to show the non-Olympic-themed “hard wallets” issued by state-run commercial banks.

And there appears to be no shortage of digital RMB-themed promotion at the games, with posters on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, including media outlets, showcasing a myriad of Olympic-themed payment options.

While some showed a range of commemorative hard wallets, others showed the token being advertised as a point-of-sale payment option.

Posted by 润泽锦程Ttz on Weibo


A screenshot of a Weibo post from the media outlet Yicai.


Meanwhile, the Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba has begun releasing a Winter Olympics-themed set of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, as reported, the nation’s leading tech firms have informally agreed to call their tokens “digital collectibles,” release them on private blockchains and impose resale restrictions on them.

Per the South China Morning Post, Alibaba is set to issue 8,888 copies of four different tokens (eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture). The first token depicts speed skaters racing for the finish line, while the next three will feature a slopestyle skier, an aerial freestyle skiing competitor, and two figure skaters.

Alibaba will be selling the tokens via its Taobao and Tmall marketplaces until the conclusion of the games on February 20. The speed skater series of tokens sold out within moments of going on sale.
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