Macau expected to become testbed for China’s digital yuan

Macau, China
Macau expected to become testbed for China’s digital yuan
Fin is an editor at TechForge Media and University of Bristol graduate. He wields an impressive knowledge of the latest technologies and has interviewed leading industry figures from companies like CBS, Rakuten, and Spotify. You can follow his Twitter @FinStrathern or connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/finstrathern/.

Macau, known as the Las Vegas of China, is likely to become a testing ground for China’s digital yuan (e-CNY) in 2022.

With casino owners preparing to bid for new licences for the first time in two decades, Reuters expects Chinese regulators to use the opportunity to force digital yuan implementation.

Major companies like Sands China and Wynn Macau have shown eagerness to cooperate.

The Government has already begun pitching ideas like appointing regulatory agents to monitor daily casino operations, Reuters reported.

Last November, central bank governor Yi Gang upheld China’s cryptocurrency as a valuable asset for fighting money laundering and other financial crimes.

The following month, Suncity CEO Alvin Chao was placed under investigation for organising cross-border gambling and illegal virtual gambling sessions. Suncity casinos were forced to shut down as the company’s shares plummeted by 48%.

Transitioning Macau to digital payments aligns with Beijing’s desire for greater oversight of cash flows in the region. Being situated outside of Chinese capital controls also makes it an ideal testbed prior to widespread rollouts on the mainland.

Macau’s casino industry is deeply intertwined with organised crime. Following the major economic hits Covid-19 cast upon the region, it’s no surprise the CCP is now directing its widespread anti-corruption campaigns towards gambling.

According to Bernstein analysts, the average high roller lost nearly £20,000 on each visit to the tables in Macau.

As of October 2021, some 140 million people had registered wallets for the new digital currency. By November, it had been used for £7.2 billion in transactions.

Whilst no official launch date has been announced for the digital yuan yet, it is expected to see major uptake throughout the year.

2021 saw China unleash a reinvigorated crackdown on all things cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin mining.

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