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Bitcoin does not have the basic properties of money, says European Central Bank

Isabel Schnabel, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), described Bitcoin as a speculative asset that does not fit the definition of money.

Bitcoin does not have the basic properties of money, says European Central Bank

Bitcoin does not have the basic properties of money, says European Central Bank (Image: DW)

In an interview with Der Spiegel, which is also available on the ECB’s website, Schnabel said that “in our opinion, it is wrong to describe Bitcoin as a currency, because it does not fulfill the basic properties of money”.

She argued that Bitcoin is a “speculative asset with no recognizable fundamental value”, which is no stranger to large price fluctuations.

When asked whether the fact that many people trust Bitcoin could harm fiat currencies like the euro, Schnabel said that she is more concerned that “confidence in cryptocurrencies can evaporate quickly”. She argued that as Bitcoin “is a very fragile system,” it could result in disruptions in the financial markets.

Schnabel also rejected the claim that fiat currencies also have no intrinsic value.

“The euro is backed by the ECB, which is highly trusted. And it is legal tender. Nobody can refuse to accept euro. Bitcoin is a different matter. “

The ECB is considering the implementation of a digital Euro that can complement cash. However, according to Schnabel, “nothing has been decided yet”.

Schnabel said there was still a lot of preparatory work on the digital euro. She added that, from a security point of view, a four to five years horizon is a reasonable time frame “necessary to examine what this means for our monetary system”.

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