Despite increasing pressure from global authorities to regulate cryptocurrencies, for the European Central Bank it’s not high on their list of priorities.
That’s according to Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s chief supervisor. Speaking to CNBC, Nouy said:
We scrutinize the issue in a regulatory perspective, we are ready to do something if it was needed, but so far it’s not exactly very high on our to-do list.
This will no doubt be welcome news to the crypto market, which has been experiencing a tough start to 2018. The first two months have been particularly brutal for bitcoin, which saw its value of nearly $20,000 at the end of December drop to above $6,000 at the start of February. In recent days the price of bitcoin has risen on the back of perceived positive news from the U.S. Senate hearing earlier this week.
At the time of publishing, bitcoin is trading at $8,502, representing a 2.65 percent increase over a 24-hour period, according to CoinMarketCap. Notably, though, the cryptocurrency market still has some catching up to do to achieve its previous all-time high of $832 billion on the 7th January. The combined market cap value is currently worth just over $400 billion.
However, while Nouy said that the ECB doesn’t consider regulating cryptocurrencies as important, she added that the central bank will be keeping an eye on developments as new risks emerge.
Mario Draghi, the president of the ECB, stated that European banks could hold positions in bitcoin in the future. During public statements at the European Parliament earlier this week, Draghi said:
Recent developments, such as the listing of bitcoin futures contracts by U.S. exchanges, could lead European banks too to hold positions in bitcoin, and therefore we will certainly look at that.
He added the caveat, though, that as cryptocurrencies remain in an unregulated market they should be regarded as ‘very risky assets.’
As a result, he said:
Banks should measure the risk of any holdings of digital currencies in their portfolio accordingly.