Athletes and spectators attending the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing will be able to use digital currency to purchase items.

The digital yuan will be made available through an app or card that stores the currency. Bank of China, which is sponsoring the Games, said that athletes will also be able to convert foreign cash into e-CNY at self-service machines.

China’s rollout of the digital yuan is designed to assess the global appeal of ‘virtual’ currency. Some 140 million Chinese citizens are said to have registered for a digital yuan account by early November, the Bloomberg news agency reports.

The digital currency will be stored in e-wallets through physical wristbands, which athletes and coaches will be eligible to apply for. The currency will be accepted at stores and cafes within the Olympic Village, and at shops at nearby railway stations.

If fans do not wish to pay for goods using digital currency, they will be able to use Chinese cash or Visa cards.

The Beijing Olympics are due to run from February 4-20. No overseas fans are permitted to attend the Games due to ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19, but a limited number of domestic spectators will be allowed under guidelines released in September.

Last month, it was reported that Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium would operate at around one-third capacity, although ice hockey games may yet be played behind closed doors.

Fans attending events at the National Indoor Stadium will also need to be fully vaccinated and present a negative nucleic acid test result within 48 hours.