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The People’s Bank of China has revealed its plans to launch their sovereign digital currency in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing. Political and economic analysts believe the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift away from paper money.

Artist’s impression of Beijing’s Winter Olympics 2022 Performance Ice Rink (Supplied by International Olympic Committee)

Trials have already begun in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and the Xiongan New Area in the northern province of Hebei, said the Chinese central bank’s governor Yi Gang. He told journalists that China’s government wants to run pilot tests at Olympic venues, though there remains no official timetable for this.

An anonymous member of the State Council with knowledge of the project told the Nikkei Asia Review that if the Chinese government is satisfied with the results of the early tests, the currency “will be issued next year.” Otherwise, “more tests will have to be conducted,” he said.

The digital version of the yuan will be linked to the holder’s smartphone number, with transactions taking place via an app. Users will be able to transfer money between accounts by tapping phones utilising NFC technology.

The currency will be legal tender, and thus takes away the necessity for a bank account, because a smartphone app could essentially fulfil this intermediary role.

The size of transactions will be limited based on identity KYC verifications. A phone number alone would permit small transactions, while providing proof of identity or photographic copies of a debit card would raise these limits. It is believed that speaking with a central bank representative in person could allow for the cap to be removed entirely. Suspected criminal activity will be traced via DLT transaction histories.

According to the CEO of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Eddie Yue, it has become easier to use and popularise new payment technologies since growing coronavirus concerns make consumers prefer digital currencies over physical cash.

A version of this story originally appeared on Russia Today.

Image by RABAUZ from Pixabay 

James Preston is the Executive Editor of Global Crypto. He is a writer and media commentator who has been reporting on how the Tech industry will make the world a better place for 14 years, with a large following on South African radio. He is an early adopter of Bitcoin, and began reporting on its revolutionary capabilities in late 2014. Philosophical by nature, he is intrigued by how the world works, and in turn, how it can be bettered. James believes wholeheartedly that the world can become as close to perfect as we humans can imagine, but it will take a lot of effort (and time) to get there. He believes his life purpose is to inspire people to believe this, and find their place in helping humanity achieve it. James regularly does talks on emerging technology and its impact on society at Universities, global conferences, and events. To invite him to speak at your event, or comment for your media outlet, email