Because of data security concerns, Republican Senators oppose American athletes adopting China’s Digital Yuan during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker, and Cynthia Lummis have petitioned the United States Olympic Committee to prohibit the use of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) during next year’s Beijing Games.
According to Bloomberg, the legislators raised their concerns about eavesdropping and espionage in a letter to Susanne Lyons, the board chair of the US Olympic Committee, on Monday.
“Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return.”
The senators, all of whom are members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, have asked for a 30-day briefing on their appeal.
Wallets Numbering in the Millions
The warning comes just days after the People’s Bank of China announced that more than 20.8 million people have signed up for the bank’s virtual wallet.
During the trials for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, foreigners would be allowed access to China’s CBDC without the requirement to create a local bank account, according to a document released on July 16.
The full deployment of China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment System has yet to be certified by the central bank (DCEP). However, it did say that as part of the CBDC‘s continuing experiments over the previous two years, 34.5 billion yuan (about US$5.3 billion) had already been spent through over 71 million transactions.
Although the Digital Yuan is still in its early stages of development, there are growing fears in the United States that it may threaten the dollar’s role as the world’s primary reserve currency. This is because it will mainly be used for domestic retail transactions, according to Chinese officials.
Concern Is Growing
Kyle Bass, an American hedge fund manager, warned on July 14 that the Chinese digital currency might have a “devastating” impact on the United States.
China might use the CBDC as a bargaining chip, compelling businesses and financial institutions to adopt and embrace it if they wish to do business with the People’s Republic. According to Bass, imagine the power they’ll have over the globe if they control all of our capital in this way.
China has already demonstrated this behavior by cracking down on the mining of decentralized currencies that compete with its own. The PBoC also aimed stablecoins earlier this month, saying that they might jeopardize financial stability.