ECB says virtual currencies can't be ignored

March 25, 2014

Virtual currency schemes should not be ignored or dismissed as they continue to become more popular worldwide, a member of the European Central Bank's executive board said in a speech Monday at the ECB/Banca d'Italia Workshop on Interchange Fees. 

"In Europe, virtual currencies do not pose a risk to price stability or financial stability, but do pose a risk for users," Yves Mersch said in the speech. "However, this user risk is more related to speculative investments and consumer protection, and not necessarily to payments."

The bank in 2012 was one of the first public authorities to see their potential and their risks and published a detailed analysis. 

"Despite the overall rise in the value of Bitcoin since the publication of the report and the media attention it is getting, our conclusions still seem to be valid, namely, that such currencies are not (at least yet) economically important," Mersch said.

Topics: Bitcoin , Payments

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