back to article China to test digital version of its currency at 2022 Winter Olympics

China will test a digital version of its currency at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. News of the trial came in an interview conducted by Chinese financial journalists with People's Bank of China governor Yi Gang, and hosted on the bank's website. The People's Bank is China's central bank and has much the same role as …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    No Yuan untracked

    A dream come true. Not even a credit card company or other intermediary between the government and the transaction. It's like the conspiracy theory that all US money is tracked via the security thread in each bill larger than a one, but absolutely real and practical. Now someone will tell us that satellites send radio waves which resonate with off the security threads....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "controllable anonymity"

    Also known as "every payment will still be tracked by the government".

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: "controllable anonymity"

      Only you and the govt. (everyone with access authority) will know what you've spent your money on, those little 'hobbies' don't interest them but will provide a subtle back of the mind nag that they are not in the least bit secret.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "controllable anonymity"

      Just like Bitcoin, and every other distributed ledger currencies.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Why the uproar ?

    Do you think your government is not aware of what you spend your money on online ?

    What's different here ? Is it because there's the word "China" is the article ?

    I guarantee you, it doesn't matter how democratic you think your country is, if your government takes an interest in you, your expense record will be the first thing they'll get their hands on.

    1. Packet

      Re: Why the uproar ?

      Yes, the uproar is because of China - and it's rightfully justified.

      I agree with you - if the country you're in, any country, decides that you're a person of interest, they can look at your expenses to see what's going on.

      However, the question is that measure of becoming a person of interest. If that bar is set incredibly low, as countries like China are wont to do, there you go - welcome to dystopian realities.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Re: Why the uproar ?

        sed 's/"China"/"USA"/g'

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the uproar ?

        In the *current* reality, somebody opening a bank account in France has to sign papers for the US government. Even if they have never set foot in the US, have nothing to do whatever with the US, they're forced to send data to the US about their banking, because the US demand it.

        I've yet to sign such a form for China. At least one can hope it would use A4 sheets of paper, not the non-standard US sizes.

        So you'll excuse me if I also think that yes, the uproar about China is exaggerated when the US right now has a much tighter grip on transactions globally.

        1. Packet

          Re: Why the uproar ?

          WTF are you talking about?

          Can you provide some proof of what you say?

          As per https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/how-to-open-bank-account-france/ and other sites, there's no mention of 'sign papers for the US government'

          1. Packet

            Re: Why the uproar ?

            It's been 2 days now.

            I figured you'd have no response at all to actual facts instead of the horse dung you made up to glorify China and disparage the US.

            Where are you, anonymous coward?

          2. Aleph0
            Big Brother

            Re: Why the uproar ?

            I'll reply in his/her stead.

            I work for a bank based in a different European country, and each of our customers opening an account has to sign a form declaring that they aren't a citizen or prior resident of the US, and that form has to be archived and kept available for inspection.

            Look up FATCA ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Account_Tax_Compliance_Act#International_implementation ). Now imagine if each country demanded similar paperwork...

    2. aks

      Re: Why the uproar ?

      So much data is being gathered on all of us from so many sources, including the strong push to stop cash as a medium of exchange. All current governments have the ability to track everything people do but there's so much data that processing it is only being done currently for people of interest.

      In future, wholesale profiling of all individuals becomes feasible. The compute power required is not there yet but it will come.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Why the uproar ?

      What's different here? Well, let's check out a few things. If I'm in an oppressive country and I want to do something about it, money is quite handy. Here's what can happen now:

      My friend: I'd like to start printing a lot of information that I have found and distributing that.

      Me: Sounds good.

      Friend: But I'm afraid that they'll figure me out when they realize my bank account has been drained right when the publications start.

      Me: I'll chip in, and I have other friends who are also interested. We'll all help.

      Friend: Thank you.

      Me: Hands cash to friend.

      Other friends: Hand cash to friend.

      Friend: Goes to office supply store, buys paper and ink cartridges with cash.

      Government of oppressive country: Doesn't know who bought those supplies.

      With digital-only transactions, they would know. And they'd know who sent cash to my friend in the first place, meaning that we couldn't support the attempt financially without also being on the radar.

      So yes, it's worse because it's China, a dictatorship. It wouldn't be good here either. We don't have to worry about our governments imprisoning us for buying paper and printing a lot, but we do have reasonable concerns about who has access to information. Information about where you spend money gives a potential criminal plenty to use to steal your money or identity, track you physically, and the like. At the moment, if you are concerned about this, perhaps because you have already become a victim of identity theft, you can stop using credit cards for much and switch to cash. With digital-only currency, you don't have that option and you will rely on the integrity of that system. In addition, if that system works like cash, there's a possibility that people will be stealing it with stolen access credentials without recourse, as it has been done previously with cryptocurrencies and stolen keys. With physical cash, criminals can only steal the amount they find--if my wallet is stolen, the criminals don't get any cash I store elsewhere.

  4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    We had it in the 1990's

    We developed Mondex in the 1990's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondex

    But it was inadequately publicised and so the public did not accept it. Mondex really is as anonymous as cash, because the money is stored as data in the Mondex wallet (smart card), and can be transferred directly to any other Mondex wallet with no external record of the transaction being kept, and no connection or data transfer to anywhere else. It is effectively exactly the same as having paper money & coins in a physical wallet. Transactions are fast because there is no need to check for approval from a third party. The downside is that just like cash notes, if your Mondex card is lost or destroyed, you lose your money. Therefore, like a physical wallet, it is not a good idea to have too much money in the card at any one time.

    The card can however be secured with a PIN so that it is not attractive to a thief. Another advantage is that money can be transferred from one Modex card to another via a data connection (e.g. modem or Internet), so you can pay people anywhere in the World remotely (as well as anonymously).

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