Irish Central Bank official says cryptos like Bitcoin are a ‘great concern’

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Derville Rowland, Ireland Central Bank’s Director-General for Financial Conduct, said in an interview with Bloomberg today that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are “of great concern.”

The bank’s official also addressed crypto investors saying “crypto-assets are quite a speculative, unregulated investment,” warning them to be “really aware they could lose the whole of that investment.”

One by one sounding an alarm on crypto 

Rowland leads the regulatory efforts of Ireland’s Central Bank and will soon take over as chair of the investment management standing committee of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), a group formed to help prepare regulations for the funds’ industry.

Already in January, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde called for the regulation of Bitcoin (BTC), stressing its “highly speculative” nature as well as its use in money laundering. 

Just last week Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned about cryptocurrencies, saying the asset class is “dangerous” and lacking “intrinsic value,” while Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda came out against Bitcoin stressing its “extraordinarily high” volatility.

The rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies is accompanied by warnings from central bankers around the world and the only question is who will ring the alarm bell next? 

‘Gamification’

Besides cryptocurrencies, regulators are focusing their attention on the so-called ‘gamification’ of stock investing, which Rowland expects to become an issue for Europe soon. 

Online brokerages such as Robinhood Markets Inc. have attracted an increase of small and first-time investors into the US market, as consumers of online platforms like Reddit have caused chaos with shares of firms such as GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. 

The ESMA has held discussions on the issue, as well as Ireland’s Central Bank, said Rowland. She added that the timeline of the new regulation is still not set but did state that they needed to be “technology-neutral.”

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Posted In: U.K., Regulation
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