China is trying to make it possible for foreign athletes and visitors to use its digital currency during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, a top central bank official said.
It could be the first test for China’s digital currency with international users.
Li Bo, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), also said the aim of the digital yuan or e-CNY (electronic Chinese yuan) is not to replace the U.S. dollar’s dominance on the international stage.
For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we were trying to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users, but also to international athletes and like visitors.
The PBOC began researching the digital yuan in 2014 and has recently launched a number of pilot projects around China that allow residents of cities including Shenzhen and Beijing to test the currency with retailers. The e-CNY is aimed at replacing cash and coins in circulation and boosting cashless payments in China. It is not a cryptocurrency and not designed like bitcoin.
“For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we were trying to make e-CNY available not only to domestic users but also to international athletes and like visitors,” Li said during a panel moderated by CNBC at the Boao Forum for Asia on the island of Hainan.
Li said the Chinese central bank will include “more scenarios and more cities” to test the digital yuan.
The deputy governor said there is no timeline yet for a nationwide rollout of the digital yuan but that the PBOC needs to increase the scope of its pilot projects and “strengthen” the technology infrastructure underpinning the digital currency.