ECB official labels crypto as ‘deleterious’ with ‘no societal benefits’ in scathing speech

Fabio Panetta, an executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), has suggested a dark future for cryptocurrencies, in which the digital assets may be used for little more than gambling among investors. In written remarks for a panel at the Bank for International Settlements Annual Conference on June 23, Panetta said crypto’s perception among investors as a “robust store of value” began to dissipate in late 2021 and into 2022, when the total market capitalization fell by more than $1 trillion. According to the ECB official, the “highly volatile” nature of crypto assets made them suitable for gambling, and should be treated as such by global lawmakers. “Due to their limitations, cryptos have not developed into a form of finance that is innovative and robust, but have instead morphed into one that is deleterious,” said Panetta. “The crypto ecosystem is riddled with market failures and negative externalities, and it is bound to experience further market disruptions unless proper regulatory safeguards are put in place.” He added: “Crypto has relied on constantly creating new narratives to attract new investors, but has failed to deliver on its promises. Policymakers should be wary of supporting an industry that has so far produced no benefits for society.”

Panetta claimed the “security, scalability and decentralisation” of crypto transactions was “not achievable”, saying the immutability of blockchains was a negative aspect due to transactions often being unable to be reversed. He cited the collapse of FTX as well as a recent lawsuit brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission against Binance, as “fundamental shortcomings” of the ecosystem.

“Crypto enthusiasts would do well to remember that new technology does not make financial risk disappear,” said the ECB official. “It is like pressing a balloon on one side: it will change in shape until it pops on the other side. And if the balloon is full of hot air, it may rise for a while but will burst in the end.”

Panetta has previously backed parts of the ECB’s plans for a potential digital euro, currently being researched by the central bank. He has also proposed banning crypto assets with an “excessive ecological footprint” as part of efforts to address risks to the environment.

Fabio Panetta, an executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), has suggested that cryptocurrencies may be used for little more than gambling among investors. In written remarks for a panel at the Bank for International Settlements Annual Conference on June 23, Panetta said crypto’s perception among investors as a “robust store of value” began to dissipate in late 2021 and into 2022, when the total market capitalization fell by more than $1 trillion. According to the ECB official, the “highly volatile” nature of crypto assets made them suitable for gambling, and should be treated as such by global lawmakers.

“Due to their limitations, cryptos have not developed into a form of finance that is innovative and robust, but have instead morphed into one that is deleterious,” said Panetta. “The crypto ecosystem is riddled with market failures and negative externalities, and it is bound to experience further market disruptions unless proper regulatory safeguards are put in place.” He added: “Crypto has relied on constantly creating new narratives to attract new investors, but has failed to deliver on its promises. Policymakers should be wary of supporting an industry that has so far produced no benefits for society.”

Panetta claimed the “security, scalability and decentralisation” of crypto transactions was “not achievable”, saying the immutability of blockchains was a negative aspect due to transactions often being unable to be reversed. He cited the collapse of FTX as well as a recent lawsuit brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission against Binance, as “fundamental shortcomings” of the ecosystem.

“Crypto enthusiasts would do well to remember that new technology does not make financial risk disappear,” said the ECB official. “It is like pressing a balloon on one side: it will change in shape until it pops on the other side. And if the balloon is full of hot air, it may rise for a while but will burst in the end.”

Panetta has previously backed parts of the ECB’s plans for a potential digital euro, currently being researched by the central bank. He has also proposed banning crypto assets with an “excessive ecological footprint” as part of efforts to address risks to the environment.

Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson author

As the overseer of NicheBot's editorial content, I am committed to ensuring that all information published on our website is both accurate and relevant to our readers. My fervent support for the crypto industry has led me to closely monitor the developments within it since 2012, and I have contributed extensively to discussions and debates surrounding the world of Bitcoin.

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