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Pat Toomey Has Joined A List Of Senators Concerned About Athletes Using Digital Yuan At The Beijing Olympics

Senator Toomey expressed his concern about the rollout of the digital yuan, which, along with cash and Visa, is one of only three forms of payment accepted at this year’s Olympic Village, in a letter to Secretary of State Blinken and Treasury Secretary Yellen on February 3rd. While 261 million Chinese users have registered for digital yuan wallets since the currency’s launch in 2019, this is the first time non-Chinese citizens will be able to conduct digital yuan transactions.


Senator Toomey requested that both departments “closely examine Beijing’s CBDC rollout during the Olympic Games,” citing e-“potential CNY’s to subvert US sanctions” and “enhance China’s surveillance capabilities.” CBDC is an abbreviation for Central Bank Digital Currency, of which the digital yuan is by far the most important to date.


Senator Toomey’s letter comes six months after US Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) expressed similar concerns to the US Olympic Committee, urging the committee to prohibit Chinese athletes from using digital yuan. According to their letter, digital yuan “may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and visitors to China on an unprecedented scale,” enabling the government to “know the exact details of what someone purchased and where.”


Indeed, while China’s stated goal for e-CNY is to meet “the public’s demand for cash in the digital economy,” nonpartisan observers such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace have speculated that increased CCP control and monitoring of financial transactions may be the primary motivation for the currency’s advancement. Last September, the Chinese government effectively banned all cryptocurrencies and launched a state-controlled Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) with the explicit goal of becoming “the only global infrastructure network autonomously innovated by Chinese entities.”


Senator Toomey’s desire to watch e-CNY at the Olympics appears to be motivated by a desire to position the United States at the forefront of the digital currency revolution. Toomey emphasises the “first-mover” advantage China gains by launching its CBDC now, and expresses his desire to assist America in remaining a leader in “digital currencies, and digital innovation” in his letter. Toomey has previously expressed support for a CBDC in the United States, which the Federal Reserve has considered but has not yet made formal plans to implement.


Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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