China promotes cashless at the expense of privacy

China is pushing for its digital yuan to be more widely distributed and for consumers to have more exposure.

The Winter Olympics are drawing near, slated for early 2022 — and that’s when Beijing is due to roll out its central bank digital currency (CBDC) nationally.

But of course, acceptance is key — not just on the part of the consumers themselves, but the businesses that serve them, too.

The Financial Times reported this week that China is boosting its efforts to get merchants to accept the CBDC. That includes McDonald’s, which has been in the midst of trialing the digital offering at 270 outlets. The government reportedly wants those efforts to be broadened by the fast food giant; the FT also noted that pressure has been ramping up for CBDC rollouts at firms such as Nike and Visa.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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