The French economist Benoît Cœuré, a member of the executive committee of the European Central Bank (ECB), on Thursday compared Bitcoin to a “maleficent emanation of the financial crisis”.
In his opening speech at a conference organized in Basel by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, however, the man acknowledged a merit to this controversial asset:
“I may be struck by lightning by saying that in this tower, located in Basel, but Bitcoin was an extremely intelligent idea,” he said.
Before adding that “unfortunately, a smart idea is not necessarily a good idea,” adding that while he was enthusiastic about blockchain technology, he was much more cautious about Bitcoin.
These statements were made at the offices of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). August Carstens, chief executive of this financial organization, made a big noise last February accusing the BTC of being “a bubble, a ponzi and an environmental disaster”.
By explicitly mentioning this characterization, Mr. Cœuré recalled that the creation of Bitcoin had followed the global financial crisis triggered in autumn 2008 by the loophole of the American bank Lehman Brothers.
“Few remember that Satoshi [Nakamoto] included in the” genesis block “a January 2009 Times title, which concerned the bailout of British banks. In every respect, Bitcoin is the evil emanation of the financial crisis “.
Soon national digital currencies?
On Wednesday, Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), called on central banks to “consider” to create their own digital currency. The CEO spoke of the speed, security and low costs offered by crypto-payments, arguing that they could “fulfill public policy objectives”, in particular “financial inclusion”.
For his part, if he recognizes that several central banks are studying this possibility, Mr. Cœuré believes that it will be necessary to wait before such an initiative is taken:
“We agree on this point: it is unlikely that a digital currency will be issued by a central bank over the next 10 years,” he said Thursday.