China’s official crypto passes its Olympics

The Beijing Olympics, which end this Sunday, are a golden opportunity for China to test their national cryptocurrency. And experimentation shows a certain appetite for this digital yuan.

Launched in April 2020 under the name e-CNY, digital yuan or even MNBC (for “central bank digital currency”), the official crypto issued by the Chinese central bank had its first full-scale test during the Winter Olympics from Beijing. Every day during the competition, transactions made with this virtual currency reached an average of $315,000, according to Mu Changchun, director general of the digital currency research institute.

Over $300,000 a day

The manager also revealed an interesting trend: it is mainly Chinese users who have used the virtual wallet of e-CNY from their smartphone. Foreign participants preferred to use “physical” wallets, in other words specialized cards that do not have a chip or magnetic stripe.

In early January, China released its crypto software wallet online, in the form of an iOS and Android mobile app capable of receiving and spending digital currency. The first experiments were followed by formal launches in 11 cities across the country, including Beijing. The success of the Olympics could give ideas for expansion to the rest of China, and why not also abroad: 91 countries have shown interest in this currency.

However, for now the MNBC will focus on the domestic market. Yi Gang, the governor of China’s central bank explained that overseas payments can end up in money laundering schemes. The e-CNY is certainly based on the blockchain, but unlike other cryptocurrencies, it is a centralized currency (Europe and the United States are working on similar projects). China has almost banned decentralized cryptos on its territory, whether for transactions or mining.

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