| Peter Wind

Key highlights:

  • ECB president Christine Lagarde called for a global effort to regulate Bitcoin
  • Lagarde said that regulation is necessary since Bitcoin is used by some for laundering money
  • Lagarde also commented on the ECB’s progress in its digital euro efforts

ECB president Christine Lagarde calls for Bitcoin regulation

Bitcoin is becoming impossible to ignore – with the world’s largest cryptocurrency growing by over 80% in the last 30 days, even the world’s top regulators and financial industry figures are sharing their thoughts on BTC. 

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde recently touched on the topic of Bitcoin, calling for further regulation of the cryptocurrency. Speaking at the Reuters Next conference, Lagarde said there needs to be a global effort to regulate Bitcoin, since it cna be used to facilitate money laundering:

“(Bitcoin) is a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.”

Lagarde mentioned the efforts in the field of cryptocurrency regulations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an intergovernmental organization with 39 members tasked with combating money laundering and terrorist financing.  

The FATF published its highly anticipated guidance for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in 2019, and the organization’s proposed rules for cryptocurrencies had a mixed reception in the cryptocurrency industry. While many industry players welcomed the efforts to create a clear regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies, some of the proposed rules were seen as too heavy-handed and difficult to implement in practice.

The most controversial is the so-called »crypto travel rule«, which requires cryptocurrency service providers to share information about a client with each other when the client makes a cryptocurrency transaction between the two businesses.

The ECB’s progress on the digital euro CBDC

Lagarde also discussed the ECB’s progress on its central bank digital currency (CBDC) considerations, which has been a topic that the ECB president has been discussing frequently as of late. 

Lagarde said that the ECB has concluded its consultation with the public regarding the digital euro, and collected a significant amount of feedback as around 8,000 people filled out its questionnaire regarding what features they would like to see in a digital euro. However, she also tempered expectations regarding the timeline for a digital euro launch, and stressed that safety should be a top priority if a digital euro is to be launched:

“No less than 8,000 people have actually logged in and responded to the many questions that were on that questionnaire concerning a digital euro. So we are moving on. We are not charging on because it’s an area where we need to be very careful and where we need to have a system that is secure, that is safe, that responds to Europeans’ demand.”



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