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Bitcoin ‘Not The Answer To Cashless Economy’ Says European Banks’ Top Brass

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Executives from the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of International Settlements (BIS) have said Bitcoin is “not the answer to the cashless economy,” in a statement released March 13.

Writing in a commentary on a BIS report into so-called central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), Benoît Cœuré and Jacqueline Loh added that banks should improve remittance options and not necessarily resort to CBDCs.

Benoît Cœuré is a board member of ECB and the chair of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and Jacqueline Loh is the chair of the BIS Markets Committee.

Bitcoin is a “challenge” to be met through enhanced consumer offerings in the remittance market, they claim, concluding:

“Despite its many faults, bitcoin has put the spotlight on an old failing of our current system: cross-border retail payments… However, these payment channels are generally much slower, less transparent and way more expensive than domestic ones. Improvements here are the best way of rising to the bitcoin challenge.”

Both the BIS report and Cœuré and Loh’s comments nonetheless shy away from the topic of cryptocurrency regulation, Cœuré having forecast the topic to be “very much a focus” for the international community in future.

In February, ECB Supervisory Board chair Daniele Nouy said regulation was conversely “not exactly very high on its to-do list.”

Blockchain remains the overwhelming outlet for EU support in 2018, the European Commission unveiling a dedicated Blockchain Observatory in February and last week further outlining its regulatory plans for the technology and fintech more widely.

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