Central banks must clamp down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to stop them “piggybacking” on mainstream institutions and becoming a “threat to financial stability”, the head of the Bank for International Settlements has warned.
国际清算银行(Bank for International Settlements)总裁奥古斯丁?卡斯滕斯(Agustín Carstens)警告称，各国央行必须打击比特币和其他加密数字货币，阻止它们“依附”主流机构，成为“金融稳定的威胁”。
Agustín Carstens, general manager of the BIS — known as the bank for central banks because it is where they hold accounts — condemned bitcoin as “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster”.
His comments came as growing signs of a backlash against cryptocurrencies by mainstream financial institutions contributed to another steep fall in the price of bitcoin, which means it has lost almost two-thirds of its market value in a month.
“To date, many judge that, given cryptocurrencies’ small size and limited interconnectedness, concerns about them do not rise to a systemic level,” Mr Carsten said in a speech at Goethe University in Germany yesterday.
“But if authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become more interconnected with the main financial system and become a threat to financial stability.”
Cryptocurrencies exploded in number and value in 2017, hitting a combined market capitalisation of $830bn in early January before a sell-off took nearly 70 per cent off that value.
But most banks refuse to touch cryptocurrencies, which raise anti-money laundering concerns because of their anonymity.
UK lenders have even declined to provide mortgages to people who have funded their deposit by selling cryptocurrencies, which means their money cannot be traced. Many US and UK banks have also blocked customers from buying cryptocurrencies using their credit cards.