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U.S. bill could stymie China's digital yuan efforts, in mobile apps anyway

A yuan note

Several United States senators have been working on a new bill that would prevent U.S. app stores from including apps that allow payments using the digital yuan which China has been working on. The bill is the handiwork of Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Mike Braun, according to a Reuters report. They’re concerned that the inclusion of digital yuan payments in apps could lead to users being tracked.

The inclusion of this payment system in apps on your phone wouldn’t allow Chinese authorities to snoop on your phone directly. The senators are worried, however, that people’s transactions would be visible to Chinese authorities ultimately “posing privacy and security concerns for American persons”.

The WeChat messaging app and Alipay have both said they will support the digital yuan. Both of these apps are in the App Store and Google Play Store. If the bill does pass, these two apps would have to strip out this payment method in the United States for them to carry on being offered through the Android and iOS app stores in the U.S.

It does seem as though the bill only restricts an app’s usage of digital yuan payments inside the United States so it wouldn’t stop an app from using these payments anywhere else and remaining on the app stores. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting new front where America and its allies will want to start defending against China’s influence.

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