Cryptocurrency Regulation ‘Not Exactly Very High’ on ECB’s To-Do List

Cryptocurrency Regulation ‘Not Exactly Very High’ on ECB’s To-Do List

Feb 8, 2018

The chief supervisor of the European Central Bank (ECB) said that cryptocurrency regulation is “not exactly very high” on the bank’s to-do list, despite growing calls for international coordination to address perceived risks in the underlying cryptoasset markets.

Cryptocurrency Regulation ‘Not Exactly Very High’ on ECB’s To-Do List

“We scrutinize the issue in a regulatory perspective, we are ready to do something if it was needed, but so far it’s not exactly very high on our to-do list,” the central bank’s chief supervisor Daniele Nouy told CNBC on Wednesday.

That’s despite growing calls from financial regulators on the need to pursue some sort of international framework on cryptocurrency regulation. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for instance, has said that he plans to raise the issue at this year’s G20 Summit, as he is concerned that some nations do not have anti-money laundering (AML) policies that adequately address the threat that criminals could use cryptocurrencies to finance their nefarious operations.

Just this week, Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, said that there is a “strong case” for banking regulators to intervene in the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry, in between blasting bitcoin as a “Ponzi scheme,” a “bubble,” and an “environmental disaster.”

European Banks Have ‘Limited Appetite’ for Cryptoassets

However, Nouy explained that her primary concern in regard to cryptocurrencies is whether banks under her supervision are participating in the cryptoasset marketplace, and right now, she said, they aren’t.

“What is important for me is to be aware of the involvement of the banks I supervise with cryptocurrencies. We are assessing it, and it is very, very low,” she said. “I believe that it may increase if cryptocurrencies are listed on certain stock exchanges in the US, for example, but for the time being we have not seen any particular development in the banks we supervise.

Nouy’s comments are largely in line with those of ECB President Mario Draghi, who recently said that although the ECB is assessing whether cryptoassets pose any threat to Europe’s financial stability, the bank has observed a “limited appetite” for this nascent asset class among major financial institutions.

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Featured Image: EUobserver/Valentina Pop