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Stock illustration: Chinese markets

Alongside the athletes who gathered from around the world to compete in physical displays of strength and skill, China flexed its proverbial muscle in the global economy by creatively rolling out the digital version of the yuan at the February 2022 Olympic Games.

The Olympic hosts provided athletes with ski gloves and smartwatches that included built-in digital payment functions utilizing only the e-CNY, and they limited other payment methods within the Olympic Village. Their goal was to spread the digital yuan beyond Chinese citizens.

China’s release to the public of the e-CNY made it the first economic superpower to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The move lapped the United States and Europe, which are mired in political back and forth and risk analysis around how to introduce CDBCs into their economies without creating instability.

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