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Cashless pioneer China extends lead with digital yuan

Ease of use makes central-bank-backed virtual currency attractive

China's central bank has been working toward a full launch of a digital version of the yuan. (Photo by Iori Kawate)

TOKYO -- I suffered one of the most embarrassing moments of my life the other day, when I finished my bowl of noodles at a popular Chinese restaurant in the Japanese capital and was about to pay the bill.

After telling the server I would use my phone to pay for the meal, I received an utterly unexpected response: "We are cash-only."

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