When Bitcoin first entered the economy, its purpose was to be a reprieve from the recession, coming in like an answered prayer. As it grew more successful, many analysts believed it to be a threat to the banking system of many countries, though the risk was not as substantial back then.
Now, with the way that the crypto industry has flourished through the last 10 years and recently, the Basel Committee believes that there’s reason to worry.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), a banking supervision forum, recently examined cryptocurrency and the industry, highlighting how the high-volatility market has some how still become wildly popular. The immaturity of the digital assets does not keep them from posing a threat to banks, concerning liquidity, credit, market, operations, and many other areas of the financial industry.
In the newsletter, the Committee points out that the scope of the crypto-asset market is still small in comparison with the financial system of the world. However, the growth of the trading platforms and commercial products that serve cryptocurrency could increase the concerns that the industry has with financial stability, while increasing the risks that banks then face.
The notice coincides with the increasing speculation around cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin activists proclaim it to be a “messiah” against a “corrupt” banking system, as NewsBTC writes. Proponents believe that having a decentralized asset with the corresponding technology would ultimately make it easier to distribute wealth evenly , while banks could just create money as they with.
— European Central Bank (@ecb) March 12, 2019
With this belief in mind, there are many people that appear to be pushing for a “financial revolution” that is settled around cryptocurrency, pushing to eliminate the Dollar with a limited-supply asset. If enough people join the cause, they could effectively reduce the value of the financial systems that have already been set up.
It is worth noting that most people involved with cryptocurrencies are speculators, which is part of the concern of the Basel Committee. Furthermore, with limited regulations and major price volatility, the banks that interact with the crypto market are threatened greatly. At the moment, the only action that the Basel Committee can take is to monitor the developments of the crypto industry, which they are doing through a collaboration with the Financial Stability Board.
Banks can still contribute to this cause to defend themselves. The Committee states that banks need to perform an analysis of the crypto-related risks that they have. Furthermore, banks need to establish framework to manage the risks that would otherwise tear them down in the event of this crypto revolution.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a group that includes 60 of the world’s central banks, published a research report that said that moving away from the proof-of-work system in place by Bitcoin would not fix the problems involve with this crypto asset.
Still, the BIS said that there is about 70% of the central banks in the world that are looking to launch their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC), though that can vary with the progression of the crypto space.