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Crypto: ‘The Olympics should be a turning point’ for China's CBDC, CoinDesk editor says

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CoinDesk Global Macro Editor & CoinDesk TV Anchor Emily Parker joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss crypto regulation, Walmart exploring a move into the metaverse, and the outlook for China's digital Yuan adoption.

Video Transcript

- Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live, everyone. Bitcoin's rough start to 2022, it continues. Bitcoin sitting at roughly $41,724 and some change. Meanwhile, US patent office filings from Walmart, they show a new player checking into the metaverse. Here to help us dive into the price movement for BTC. Plus, the apparent big box metaverse ambitions from the retailer.

Emily Parker, CoinDesk Global Macro Editor and CoinDesk TV Anchor. Emily, great to have you here with us today. We've got to break this down and dive right in. Even the banks kicking off earnings season have published their client surveys or research about BTC price expectations. What do you anticipate will be the driving force behind Bitcoin price action in the year ahead?

EMILY PARKER: Great question. Nobody ever really knows. But what I'm always focusing on is the regulatory environment. Because there are a lot of potential regulatory actions out there, especially in the US, looking at ways to regulate the cryptocurrency space.

And I think that is what we can look at in terms of something that could affect the price. If regulations seem to be overly harsh, clamping down on innovation, clamping down on the industry, then that will be negative for Bitcoin's price. So I think that's the space to watch right now.

- Emily, moving away from that space, something I know you've been watching very closely, the rollout of the digital Yuan. Of course, we're looking to the Olympics as kind of the official launch here. But we're already getting some numbers in terms of transactions. And as we'd expect from China, it is a pretty big one.

EMILY PARKER: Yeah. So actually, you know, I would say that there's not that many people using China's central bank digital currency yet. The Olympics should be a real turning point, and after the Olympics, we might see a lot more mass use. I mean, we are so, so, early in this technology. And China has all sorts of ways to incentivize ordinary people to use this.

China has a very established mobile payments culture, with Alipay and WeChat Pay. So it's hard to know exactly what the actual numbers will be. But I'd say, after the Olympics, we could see quite a surge in use.

- And while we have you here, Emily, we got to talk about Walmart, the big box retailer in the room, if you will, or in the metaverse at least, as they are announcing some of their own ambitions there. You know, with all of this in mind, Walmart playing in the metaverse could mean a totally different thing in terms of how they seek to advance their own type of payments and transactions.

What could a Walmart in the metaverse look like? And what does that mean for the broader crypto space as well, as we're considering it here now?

EMILY PARKER: Right. So there are so many implications of this. So just for Walmart itself, we don't know exactly what it will look like. Walmart getting into the NFT space is just another kind of digitization of products and offering customers a different type of experience.

But I think the larger trend here is that Walmart is not the only one. First of all, we just saw this news by Microsoft making its largest ever acquisition, $70 billion in the video game player Activision Blizzard which is another metaverse play. So we have Walmart entering the metaverse. We have Microsoft entering the metaverse.

We have Facebook entering the metaverse to such an extreme degree that it's actually changed its name to Meta. But these aren't even the other big companies. You know, you have Nike and Adidas. And this is a really interesting phenomenon for several reasons.

First of all, the metaverse right now, for a lot of the average user, is not that easy to access. The barrier to entry is rather high. So having these larger established players coming in could create more of a mainstream experience. It could open it up to more users.

However, we could see the danger of monopolization of the space that's supposed to be decentralized and revolutionary by these big corporations, similar to what we saw in the social media space. So I think it's possibly a good development, but there are some dangers as well.

- Yes, still very, very, early stages. An important reminder, there. Emily Parker, always good to talk to you, CoinDesk Global Macro Editor and CoinDesk TV Anchor.