The eCNY could immediately give the Chinese government more power to monitor finance flows because a digital currency system can record every transaction. That poses privacy concerns, with China having used many tools in the past to crack down on dissidents.
Eswar Prasad, the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division, said one of the most important factors driving the eCNY was the success of WeChat Pay and Alipay. Both have given rise to a new alternate financial system that has worried Chinese officials and led to a recent crackdown on Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and Ant Financial, which owns Alipay.
“If I cannot buy you a coffee without the government knowing about it, I do worry about what this could mean,” Mr. Prasad said.
Ms. Huang, the business strategist in Shenzhen, said she already assumed that most of her data could be tracked and had gotten used to it. "I choose to sacrifice a little bit of privacy for convenience,” she said.