- Bitcoin has enabled criminal money laundering and must be regulated at a global level, ECB President Christine Lagarde told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
- Bitcoin is a “highly speculative asset which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity,” Lagarde said.
- “There has to be regulations and this has to be agreed upon” at a global level, Lagarde told Reuters.
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Lagarde said bitcoin is not a currency, but is instead a “highly speculative asset which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity,” according to the interview.
Bitcoin isn’t a currency as evidenced by its wild swings over the past few weeks, Lagarde argued. The cryptocurrency has surged more than 300% in 2020, but after topping out above $40,000 last week the digital asset dropped by more than 20%.
“I think that there are criminal investigations that have taken place that I’m sure will continue to take place that demonstrate it very clearly,” Lagarde said.
The criminal activity and legal loopholes surrounding bitcoin is why it needs to be regulated on a global level, Lagarde said.
“There has to be regulations and this hast to be applied and agreed upon at a global level because if there is an escape, that escape will be used,” Lagarde said, adding that global cooperation is needed.
Lagarde sees rules on bitcoin potentially being initiated at the G7 level, then moved to the G20, and then expanded to other countries.
Global regulation has been the crux of bearish bitcoin arguments in recent years, but there has yet to be significant movement on the regulatory front.
However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did propose new rules in December that would require certain crypto traders to provide more information about their identities and transactions. It remains unclear if that proposal will be enacted before Mnuchin is replaced by Janet Yellen in a Joe Biden administration.
The price of bitcoin moved up about 2% to $34,350 in Wednesday trades.
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