BOAO, China – China is trying to allow foreign athletes and visitors to use its digital currency during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, a senior central bank official said Sunday.
It could be the first test of China’s digital currency among international users.
Li Bo, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), also said the goal of the digital yuan, or E-CNY (electronic Chinese yuan), is not to replace the dominance of the US dollar on the international scene.
For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we have tried to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users but also to international athletes and similar visitors.
deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China
The PBOC began researching the digital yuan in 2014 and has recently launched a series of pilots across China to allow residents of cities like Shenzhen and Beijing to test the currency with retailers. The e-CNY aims to replace cash and coins in circulation and promote cashless payments in China. It is not a cryptocurrency and is not designed like Bitcoin.
“For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we have tried to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users, but also to international athletes and similar visitors,” Li said during a panel hosted by CNBC at the Boao Forum for Asia at the Island of Hainan.
Li said the Chinese central bank will use “more scenarios and more cities” to test the digital yuan.
The deputy governor said there was no timeline for a nationwide rollout of the digital yuan, but the PBOC needed to expand the scope of its pilot projects and “strengthen” the technological infrastructure that underpins the digital currency.
Challenge to the US Dollar?
Various commentators have suggested that China’s digital yuan could be a way to internationalize the renminbi and also challenge the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Much of international trade takes place in US dollars.
However, Li reiterated that the PBOC is focused on the domestic use of the digital currency.
“As for the internationalization of the renminbi, we have often said that it is a natural process and that our goal is not to replace the US dollar or any other international currency,” said Li. “I think our goal is that Enable market choice and facilitate international trade and investment. “
A red package in digital Chinese currency can be seen on an arranged photo on a mobile phone as Chengdu City begins handing out 200,000 red E-CNY packages valued at 40 million yuan on February 24, 2021 in Yichang, Hubei Province .
VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images
However, the PBOC is working with other central banks – including from Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong – to investigate the use of the digital yuan in cross-border trade.
“We are focusing again on first building a very solid domestic E-CNY and building a healthy ecosystem. At the same time, we are working with our international partners. Hopefully we will have a cross-border solution in the long term, too,” said Li.