WSJ: On the day of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, Beijing's Digital Yuan surpassed Visa by number of transactions
The exact number of transactions made on that day is not reported. However, when choosing to pay by Visa card, cash, or digital yuan, competitors mostly chose the latter.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, according to the contract concluded with Visa, the usual payment technologies in China, such as AliPay and WeChat applications, were disabled within the area of the Olympics. Participants could use Visa cards or buy digital yuan using a special device. Introduced in November 2021 by Bank of China Group, the device accepts fiat money and converts it into Chinese CBDC. Depending on the amount, the money is transferred to a mobile app or a special card.
Recall that during the Beijing Winter Olympics, a special quarantine zone was created in order to separate participants in the Games from the rest of the country's population. China has a zero-tolerance strategy, localizing any COVID-19 outbreak if it is detected. Once a sick person is quarantined, the place where he or she stayed, such as a house, store, supermarket, train station, or airport, is also closed.
Central bank digital currencies (CBDC)
CBDCs are a product of central banks, using which they try to compete with all cryptocurrencies. They almost completely copy the characteristics of cryptocurrencies, except for a few peculiarities. First, instead of decentralization, they offer centralization, i. e., only one organization can issue coins. The second thing is that there is no possibility to mine or perform DeFi in order to passively obtain new digital coins. Thirdly, CBDC is controlled by the state, and as a consequence, it can control transfers by imposing sanctions against countries, organizations, or certain people. Moreover, there is no anonymity.
Among major countries, the People's Bank of China is the most progressive in issuing such a currency. The secret development started back in 2014, but the world only found out about it in 2019. Today, testing of the central bank's digital currency, called DCEP, is in its final stages.