The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially called the XXIV Winter Olympics, began on February 4 in Beijing, with cryptocurrency becoming a big part of the event, in part due to the Chinese government’s ambitions for digital currency.

The crypto community has not had a strong relationship with the Olympics in recent years. The last major interaction that made headlines was when the Dogecoin (DOGE) community helped fund the Jamaica Babel team in 2014 so they could attend an event in Sochi.

However, the 2022 Winter Olympics will go down in history with the availability of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Bitcoin-backed athletes (BTC), and the launch of the world’s first major central bank digital currency (CBDC) and its potential use as a currency. A payment method in a country that effectively banned cryptocurrency trading and mining last year.

China’s digital yuan controversy
The 2022 Winter Olympics was supposed to be a kind of celebration of the issuance of the digital yuan, the Chinese CBDC. The People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, has been testing the digital yuan in several areas for several years and has allowed foreigners to use the digital currency during the event for the first time.

The digital currency can be used through the government’s e-CNY mobile app or through mobile payment platforms developed by the private sector, including Tencent Holdings WeChat, a Chinese messaging app with more than one billion users.

The launch of the app has reportedly been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, which has seen athletes, officials and journalists largely separate from the rest of China in a quarantine “bubble” designed to prevent the spread of different strains of the coronavirus. This bubble, along with the authorities restricting the number of viewers in person, appears to have led to a significant drop in the number of people testing the digital yuan.

However, other reports said more transactions were made in digital yuan on the day of the opening ceremony compared to Visa.

Since the launch, the volume of digital yuan transactions has exceeded $13 billion, and by November 2021, digital wallets had active nearly 10 million merchants.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Fergus Hodgson, director of financial advisory firm Aecon Americas, said the Olympics “has become a marketing opportunity for governments, and they are usually at a loss,” adding:

“The digital yuan is just another fiat currency that deserves to be outdone by private currencies, or at least sovereign currencies that are not built on slave labor and tyranny.”
The perceived threat to the digital yuan’s dominance of the dollar has prompted US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to warn against introducing the digital yuan into the Olympics, as it allegedly could threaten US interests. In July, a group of three senators sent a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee claiming that the Chinese Communist Party could use the CBDC to monitor visiting athletes.

China’s digital currency is expected to provide the country’s government with new tools to monitor the economy and control more of the global digital economy.

Apparently agreed, David McCarville, director of law firm Venmore, told Cointelegraph that Chinese authorities “have cracked down on the crypto industry as a threat to its natural security” because the “decentralized nature of cryptocurrency” undermines the Chinese government and its needs. For “Data Monitoring and Financial Transaction Monitoring for Financial Monitoring Purposes”.

McCarville noted that there is “evidence that the Chinese government intends to use the digital yuan to expand economic surveillance activities,” adding:

“With the digital yuan, the user is subject to constant monitoring as well as potentially dangerous software and virus infections. Without a clear understanding of the closed source code used to create the digital yuan, it is almost impossible to make an informed decision.”
For Eli Taranto, head of business development at digital bank EQIBank, Chinese crypto may not be tied to CBDCs. He told Cointelegraph:

Cryptocurrency represents a kind of popular revolution that is changing some budgets that have been around until recently. Obviously, not everyone is in favor of such transformations, but in the long run they will not be able to stop them, no matter how hard they try. Try.”
NFT at the Olympics
While the Chinese CBDC made headlines, non-fungible tokens were used to attract fans and art lovers.

Several NFT projects have been launched to interact with fans at the Olympics. One of the most

Source: CoinTelegraph

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