COVID restrictions stymie digital yuan rollout at Beijing Winter Olympics: Report
Restricting the number of spectators at the major international sporting event will “likely further delay the mass adoption of the digital currency,” according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Craig Singleton.
Though athletes and support staff arriving for the Beijing 2022 Olympics still have the option of using digital currency for payments at many venues, the international test run of China’s CBDC is reportedly facing hurdles due to the pandemic.
According to a Monday report from CNN, athletes, officials and journalists for the country’s Olympics games are largely separated from the population of China in a quarantine “bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These precautions combined with the Chinese government deciding to limit the number of in-person spectators may result in far fewer people testing the digital yuan as a method of payment at the major event.
“The Olympic Games would have been the first real chance for tourists and Chinese nationals alike to familiarize themselves with the digital yuan, but that door slammed shut when the Chinese government decided to severely restrict the number of Olympic spectators,” said Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “That decision alone, more than anything else, will likely further delay the mass adoption of the digital currency.”
The news outlet reported that roughly 11,000 people will be kept in a separate bubble from the Chinese population, with foreign and Chinese visitors outside of it not allowed to attend games at all. Despite these measures, Reuters reported on Monday that officials had detected 119 cases of COVID-19 “among athletes and personnel” in the last four days.