Bitcoin Is ‘Highly Speculative’ And Used In ‘Reprehensible Money Laundering’ Says ECB President

ECB President Christine Lagarde further called on cooperation amongst global regulators for united Bitcoin regulations

In a Reuters Next virtual conference, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde blasted Bitcoin as a “highly speculative asset,” adding that the cryptocurrency has been widely used for “totally reprehensible money laundering activity.” Lagarde called on tougher regulations on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in recurring rhetoric – calling on global cooperation from regulators.

“It [Bitcoin] is a highly speculative asset, which has been used to conduct some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activities,” Lagarde said in the interview with Reuters Next.

Over the past few weeks, Bitcoin has caught investors’ attention as it surged to new all-time highs – at one point doubling 2017 high to trade above $42,000. Both retail and institutional investors have taken a profitable gamble in the cryptocurrency, which saw its price hike 340% across 2020.

However, the ECB President insisted that the cryptocurrency should be regulated as money laundering and illicit activities through BTC spike (as if banks aren't doing the same with fiat). While not giving any solid example on the “reprehensible money laundering activities,” Lagarde stated that some investigations on the use of BTC in illicit activities were ongoing.

“There has to be regulation. This has to be applied and agreed upon…at a global level because if there’s an escape that escapes will be used,” Lagarde said, insisting on global cooperation in regulating Bitcoin.

Lagarde: “Digital Euro could take up to five years.”

The ECB president also opened up on plans the central bank is taking to develop the digital euro. In November, Lagarde confirmed that the digital euro is on its way – with the final decision set to be made later this month.

“If it is going to contribute to better monetary sovereignty, a better autonomy for the euro area, I think we should explore it,” she said back in November.

Lagarde did not give a specific timeline for the launch of the digital euro but hoped the CBDC would be ready in the next half-decade “because things in the fintech world are moving super-fast.” However, she repeated that the ECB would not be taking a first-approach in launching but rather be “alert” in a bid to provide Europeans with a “safe and secure platform.”

On Tuesday, the ECB stated their online consultation on a digital Euro had received over 8,000 responses. The online consultation has run for the past three months, and the full results and findings will be released in March when the ECB Governing Council votes on creating a digital Euro.

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