Digital Yuan Ban: Senators Seek To Ban Chinese E-CNY From US App Stores

Three Republican senators are pushing to ban portals from allowing apps that facilitate payments in Chinese digital yuan, fearing they could be used for espionage purposes against US citizens.

The proposed Defending Americans from Authoritarian Digital Currencies Act would ban the use of Chinese e-CNY for app stores and other uses in the United States.

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US says no to digital yuan

Senators Mike Braun (IN), Tom Cotton (AR) and Marco Rubio (FL) consider this a matter of national and economic security, and they intend to oppose China’s efforts to weaken the American economy.

The proposed legislation prohibits app retailers, including Google and Apple, from hosting apps that collect virtual currency purchases. This includes popular messaging service WeChat, which earlier this year said it would support Chinese digital currency.

Senator Marco Rubio characterizes China's digital yuan as a "significant financial and surveillance risk." (American Civil Liberties Union)

China started its pilot test of e-CNY in 2019 and has since implemented it in at least 15 cities. The e-CNY, which is intended to replace real currency, is controlled by the government and issued by a central bank, unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether.

US fears Chinese spying via digital currency

In a statement, Braun argued that China could use state-controlled digital currency to access the private data of US residents and the economy.

According to the senators, the term “app store” encompasses all software applications, publicly available websites and other electronic services that distribute applications from third-party developers to users of PCs, mobile devices and other “devices general purpose computing.

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Cotton issued a press release on Thursday stating:

“The Chinese Communist Party will use its digital currency to spy on anyone using it. We cannot allow China to have this opportunity – the United States should deny China’s attempt to undermine our economy.

Rubio called the digital yuan “a significant financial and supervisory risk that the United States cannot afford to take.”

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China’s digital money has raised privacy and security concerns. During the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, a group of Republican lawmakers urged American athletes not to use the digital yuan, fearing the central bank could follow it.

China’s digital yuan project is now leading all central bank digital currency initiatives, with the Asian nation carrying out several tests and announcing its willingness to continue international payments.

Featured image from Getty Images, chart from TradingView.com

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