Bank of England's Carney steps up attack on cryptocurrencies

Carney attacked bitcoin in a speech at the Inaugural Scottish Economics conference

Canadian economist and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unsurprisingly continued his anti-Bitcoin and anti-cryptocurrency rhetoric this morning in a speech to Bloomberg - in which he threw about as much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) as one in his position can possibly throw. "And as the SEC and FCA have argued forcefully, so-called initial coin offerings will not be allowed to use semantics to avoid securities laws created to protect retail investors in particular".

Speaking to students at Edinburgh University, Carney dismissed talk of a potential ban on cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom, saying that it "risks foregoing potentially major opportunities from the development of the underlying payments technologies".

Carney's speech touched on several points that have become somewhat of a mainstay for banking officials.

"At present, crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, market integrity, money laundering, terrorism financing, tax evasion, and the circumvention of capital controls and global sanctions".

Carney, who is additionally chair of the G20's financial stability board, joins a series of global policy makers to either flag serious concerns about crypto trading or in the case of China, ban it outright.

"This is in part because they are small relative to the financial system".

Digital assets are increasingly coming under the scrutiny of regulators.

Despite his strong criticism, Carney conceded that the distribute ledger technology which underpins cryptocurrencies can act to help the way payments are made evolve.

Carney, who was unable to travel to Scotland because of the adverse weather conditions across the United Kingdom, noted "the average volatility of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation was more than 25 times that of the USA equities market in 2017".

"The best thing would be to regulate elements of crypto-assets to reduce illegal activities, protect the safety of the market and maintain the market integrity. And bringing crypto-assets into the regulatory tent could potentially catalyze innovations to better serve the public".

"In addition, major United Kingdom financial institutions have minimal exposures to the crypto-asset ecosystem". "If included in the financial system they would have massive privileges but also massive responsibilities".

"I trust you have gathered by now that for many reasons the crypto-assets in your digital wallets are unlikely to be the future of money". But that isn't meant to dismiss them; their core technology is already having a major impact.

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