This year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing got mixed reviews, for a range of political, economic, and cultural reasons. 

But the debut of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) at the Olympics is being hailed as a success.

While many Chinese sports fans were cheering Olympic skier Elieen Gu’s success while watching at home, fans in Beijing were using e-CNY to buy snacks or stuffed animals of Olympic panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen.

Could other nation’s soon look to China’s example before launching their own CBDCs?

China has been developing its own for a long time. In 2014, the central bank began to study a digital currency issuance framework and key technologies, and in 2019, the central bank began to vigorously promote the research and development of digital currency.

At the end of 2019, the e-CNY started its trial domestically in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan New Area, and Chengdu. In August 2020, the Ministry of Commerce announced the launch of e-CNY pilots in the most economically developed areas, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and qualified pilot areas in the central and western regions. In October of that year, China quickly added six pilot test areas: Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian.

In January 2022, China’s digital yuan mobile app went live. At the same time, a total of nine banks allowed customers to open personal digital RMB wallets.

Finally, at the opening of Beijing Winter Olympics, digital yuan trials were introduced to athletes and foreign…


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