US Senators Might Ban American Athletes From Using Chinese CBDC At Beijing Olympics

Three Republican senators have requested that America’s Olympic and Paralympic Committee restrict the use of Digital Yuan by American athletes during the Beijing Olympics which will take place in 2022.

In the letter to the committee, the trio urged the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to ban the athletes from receiving the digital currency or perhaps using it in transactions. 

The senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker, and Cynthia Lummis expressed concerns that China could use the digital currency to gain access to private information about American athletes.

The lawmakers went on to clarify – they suspected that the currency had been introduced in hopes that the Digital Yuan wallets would remain on smartphones, thus providing the perfect access for an exploit.

In the release, the senators used the incredibly well-known instant messaging app WeChat to give concrete backing to their fears. 

E-CNY’s Progress So Far

The Digital Yuan, which is known as the “E-CNY” (or “E-RMB” as in the case of the Renminbi), is the virtual version of China’s national currency. Just like the traditional Yuan or Renminbi, E-CNY  is under the control of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC): a fact the senators are wary of. The three senators reiterated their concerns about privacy in the letter, and do not trust China’s modern currency, despite the synonymity of blockchain with privacy and security.

The letter which was sent out yesterday comes on the tails of E-CNY’s white paper release concerning the development of the CBDC which was released last friday. E-CNY’s whitepaper has smart contracts in its roadmap amongst a host of other improvements as China fast-tracks its CBDC development ahead of 2022.

The project has been put through 14 major tests in nine of China’s largest cities and currently undergoes a test trial which includes more than 20 million Chinese citizens and an estimated 3.5 million businesses. The PBoC is confident that its CBDC project is the largest of its kind globally.

Why US Senators and Others are Worried

Several analysts believe China is trying to push for the mass adoption of the currency ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. This thought becomes even more unbearable for some when China’s recent crackdown on crypto industries in its country is considered.

For dedicated crypto enthusiasts big on decentralization, China’s hard stance with decentralized cryptocurrencies and its fervent plans for a centralized digital currency is worrying. 

For US senators and other concerned political figures, the 2022 Winter Olympics looks like the perfect springboard for China to launch its digital currency plans. Several state-owned commercial banks began testing products centered around the E-CNY and the coming games in late 2020.

These products include wearable Digital Yuan wallets such as a ski glove. At the China digital summit in May, a test version of an E-CNY ATM, capable of exchanging more than 15 foreign currencies, was part of the exhibits. Another project prioritized by the PBoC is a version of the digital wallet equipped with a fingerprint sensor. 

There are fears that an introduction of a fingerprint sensor might pave the way for misuse of biometric data introduced into the Digital Yuan wallets.

It is presently unclear if the current stand of these senators regarding the Chinese digital currency will affect the growing popularity of CBDCs worldwide.

In countries such as France, Japan, and a growing number of countries, the use of CBDCs is already being tested. CBDC’s represent a different era for cryptocurrencies, and it will be interesting to see how the crypto market responds to their full realization.

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