Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Mike Braun introduced the Protect Americans from Authoritarian Digital Currencies Act on May 26 to curb China’s influence in the US.
The bill aims to prevent US companies such as Google and Apple from listing apps in their app stores that would support or allow the use of the Chinese digital yuan, also known as e-CNY.
“The Chinese Communist Party will use its digital currency to control and spy on anyone who uses it,” Cotton said in a statement. “We cannot give China that chance – the United States must reject China’s attempt to undermine our economy at the most basic level.”
Designed to replace physical coins and banknotes, the digital yuan differs from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum in that it is government controlled and issued by a country’s central bank.
China is pushing for more domestic use of its digital currency. In early January 2022, China’s largest messaging app, WeChat, owned by Tencent, began supporting the digital yuan.
The e-CNY also made an appearance at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year, where it competed in the international challenge for foreigners and athletes.
At the same time, U.S. Senator Patrick Joseph “Pat” Toomey, a proponent of introducing cryptocurrencies to the United States, warned American politicians to keep a close eye on the potential of the digital yuan to circumvent U.S. sanctions and facilitate illicit money flows.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s digital yuan allows direct control and access to people’s financial lives,” Brown said in a statement. “We cannot allow this authoritarian regime to use its state-controlled digital currency as a tool to infiltrate our economy and the personal information of American citizens.”