Bill seeks to ban Chinese digital currency from US app stores

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A visitor walks past a logo for the e-CNY, a digital version of the Chinese yuan, displayed at a trade fair in Beijing, China.

Popular apps like WeChat have started supporting Chinese digital currency.
Photo: Ng Han Guan (PA)

Three Republican S’sSenators have proposed a bill to ban the use of apps that support China’s digital currency, also known as e-CNY or digital yuan, over concerns that the Chinese government could use the currency to spy on US citizens.

The law Project has been labeled the “Defending Americans Against Overbearing Digital Currencies Act” and calls for banning app stores, including Apple and Google, from offering apps that accept digital currency purchases. This would include the popular messaging app WeChatwhich announced it would support e-CNY earlier this year.

The senators behind the bill warned of alleged financial and oversight risks associated with the digital yuan. “The Chinese Communist Party’s Digital Yuan Enables Direct Control and Access to Individuals’ Financial Lives”, Indiana SSenator Mike Braun, said in a statement. “We cannot allow this authoritarian regime to use its state-controlled digital currency as an instrument to infiltrate our economy and the private information of American citizens.” Arkansas SSenator Tom Cotton reiterated Braun’s concern that digital currency could be used to “monitor and spy on anyone who uses it.”

“We cannot give China that chance – the United States should reject China’s attempt to undermine our economy at its most basic level,” Cotton added in the same statement.

China’s digital currency has raised concerns about security and privacy issues. During the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, a group of Republican lawmakers warned American athletes not to use digital yuan in China, saying it could be followed by the central bank.

Meanwhile, China has promised “controllable anonymity” that would allow users to keep their transactions anonymous to a “reasonable extent”. according Mu Changchun, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute at the People’s Bank of China.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announceD that he supports the development of a US digital currency. Biden has ordered multiple agencies to begin researching and submitting their reports in anticipation of an alleged global shift toward digital currencies.

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