Republican senators want to ban Chinese digital currency from US apps and app stores
Three Republican senators are proposing a law that would prevent app stores from carrying apps that accept payments using Chinese digital currency. The Authoritarian Digital Currency Protection for Americans Act prohibits app stores in the United States from carrying or supporting any app that “supports or enables transactions in e-CNY,” also known as the digital yuan or the digital renminbi.
App stores will also be banned from supporting or enabling digital yuan transactions. The bill broadly defines an app store as “a publicly accessible website, software application, or other electronic service that distributes applications from third-party developers to users of a computer, mobile device, or other computer for general purposes.”
The bill was proposed by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Mike Brown (R-Ind) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla). “The Chinese Communist Party will use its digital currency to control and spy on anyone who uses it,” Cotton said. “We cannot give China this opportunity – the United States should reject China’s attempt to undermine our economy at its most basic level.” Thursday press release.
“The digital yuan allows direct control and access to the financial lives of individuals,” Brown said. “We cannot allow this authoritarian regime to use its state-controlled digital currency as a tool to infiltrate our economy and the private information of American citizens.”
Ban may affect WeChat and Alipay
As Reuters reported, the introduction of the legislation “comes after WeChat, a messaging and payment app owned by Chinese company Tencent with more than 1.2 billion users, announced that it would start supporting the currency earlier this year. Alipay, the highly popular payments app owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group, also accepts digital currency. Both apps are available on Apple and Google app stores.”
Rubio described China’s digital money as a “significant financial and surveillance risk” and said, “It makes no sense to associate ourselves with the digital currency of a genocidal regime that hates us and wants to replace us on the world stage.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Washington described the legislation as “another example of the US arbitrarily bullying foreign companies by abusing state power on an unacceptable basis related to national security,” according to Reuters.
In March, nine Republican senators proposed a series of reports and criteria for studying and managing the risks posed by the digital yuan.