China is set to showcase its digital yuan at the Summer World University Games in Chengdu, which will take place from July 28 to August 8, 2023. The games will be the first major international sporting event to use the digital yuan, following its debut at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.
The digital yuan, also known as e-CNY, is a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). It is a digital version of the physical yuan, and can be used for payments in both online and offline settings.
The PBOC has been working on the digital yuan since 2014, and it has been conducting pilot tests in several cities across China. The digital yuan is expected to be rolled out nationwide in 2023.
The use of the digital yuan at the Summer World University Games is seen as a major step in the PBOC’s efforts to promote the currency. The games will provide the PBOC with an opportunity to test the digital yuan’s performance in a large-scale setting, and to gather feedback from users.
The digital yuan is seen as a potential rival to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, the PBOC has stressed that the digital yuan is not a cryptocurrency, and that it will not be used for speculative purposes.
The use of the digital yuan at the Summer World University Games is a significant development in the evolution of CBDCs. It remains to be seen whether the digital yuan will be widely adopted by the public, but the PBOC’s efforts to promote the currency are a sign that China is committed to the development of CBDCs.
Here are some of the benefits of using the digital yuan:
- Faster and more convenient payments: The digital yuan can be used to make payments quickly and easily, without the need for cash or cards.
- Lower transaction fees: The digital yuan can be used to make payments with lower transaction fees than traditional methods.
- Increased financial inclusion: The digital yuan can help to increase financial inclusion by making it easier for people to access financial services.
Here are some of the challenges of using the digital yuan:
- Security: The digital yuan is a new technology, and there are concerns about its security.
- Acceptance: The digital yuan is not yet widely accepted, and there is a risk that it will not be widely adopted.
- Regulation: The digital yuan is a new form of currency, and there is a need for clear regulations to govern its use.
Per the Chinese media outlet The Cover, the games will become the first “major international sports event” to “officially use the digital yuan following the Beijing Winter Olympics.”
The Summer World University Games is a biannual event that sees university students from around the world compete in a number of sports, such as athletics, rowing, swimming, gymnastics, and tennis.
Organizers claimed they had “successfully created” public digital yuan wallets that will be used by the event’s Executive Committee.
The organizers also claimed they had “achieved initial results” in applying the CBDC to event-connected “scenarios” such as catering, medical care, and transport.
The Digital Yuan at the Summer World University Games
The event’s official partner is the state-owned commercial bank the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
The ICBC was one of the first banks in China to launch a digital yuan wallet back in 2020.
But the organizers have not yet announced if athletes will be issued with digital yuan hard wallets, as was the case at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
During the Olympics, the only form of payment accepted at Olympic Village outlets were Visa card payments and the digital yuan.
But efforts to showcase the coin to the world were hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, which meant no spectators were allowed at the event.
Chinese financial sector officials are hoping to repeat the showcase on a larger scale at the Asian Games in September.
The Asia Games will be held in Hangzhou from September 23 and will likely see a range of digital yuan promotions prepared for international spectators.
A range of commemorative, wearable, games-themed digital yuan hard wallets has already been developed ahead of the opening ceremony.
Public transport networks in and around Hangzhou have also been upgraded so they can accept digital yuan payments.
Student Athletes to Use CBDC?
The Summer World University Games had originally been slated to take place in Chengdu in 2021.
But the games were postponed due to the pandemic, as well as clashes with other Olympic events.
The event will thus be held under the shorthand name “Chengdu 2021” – despite the fact it is being held two years late.
Prior to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, an event had been slated to take place in Russia’s Yekaterinburg this year.
But that was scrapped by the games’ governing body, the International University Sports Federation, following the outbreak of war in 2022.