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Beijing's Digital Currency Push at Winter Olympics Puts Visa in a Bind

Wednesday February 9, 2022. 05:06 PM , from Slashdot
The Beijing Winter Olympics is giving Visa a run for its money. From a report: For decades, America's largest card network has been the exclusive electronic-payments provider at the world's largest sporting event. At this year's Beijing Games, however, Visa finds itself having to share the spotlight with China's new digital currency, the e-CNY. China has been at the forefront of digitizing payments, thanks in large part to the popular mobile networks Alipay and WeChat Pay, operated by Chinese internet giants Ant Group and Tencent Holdings, respectively. The mass adoption of digital payments in the world's most populous nation has made the use of physical cash virtually obsolete -- a trend that has alarmed China's central bank, which has been conducting small-scale rollout trials for its digitized legal tender since late 2019. At previous Olympics, cash and Visa cards were the only two permitted forms of payment, though the former diminished in usage at the sporting venues after the 2004 Olympics in Athens, according to people familiar with the matter, with nearly all payments having moved to Visa. That has generally held true at the Beijing 2022 Olympics, with Alipay, WeChat Pay and other electronic-payment methods barred as part of the exclusivity guaranteed by Visa's sponsorship.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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