Cryptocurrencies’ Rising Popularity Is “of Great Concern,” Says Irish Central Banker

Derville Rowland is all set to take over as chairwoman of the European Securities and Markets Authority’s investment management standing committee in July, which helps prepare regulations for the funds' industry.

Yet another central bank official is concerned about the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Derville Rowland, one of the top officials at Ireland’s central bank, is the latest one who has the same views about cryptos as other officials.

“Crypto assets are quite a speculative, unregulated investment,” and people should be “really aware they could lose the whole of that investment,” said the central bank’s director-general for financial conduct in an interview.

Rowland has joined a host of central banks issuing more or less the same warnings on crypto investments.

The rising popularity of crypto assets such as bitcoin is “of great concern,” she added.

Rowland, who is known for imposing heavy fines on some of the nation’s biggest financial firms, will be taking over as chairwoman of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s investment management standing committee in July.

This committee helps prepare regulations for the funds' industry.

Besides cryptos, Rowland also focuses on the “gamification” of stock investing, which she expects to become an issue for Europe soon.

ESMA and Ireland’s central bank both have held discussions on the issue, said Rowland. But while no timeline for any regulations has been set, they need to be “technology-neutral,” she said, “so that you’re not getting better protections in older paper-based processes than you are in more online processes.”

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