The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, said that Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset and needs to be regulated at a global level. Speaking at the Reuters Next conference, the ECB President added that the cryptocurrency has conducted some 'funny business and totally reprehensible money laundering activity' that needs to be checked. She also mentioned that there will be a digital euro, hopefully in no more than five years.
Christine Lagarde joined a number of global regulators that calls out for implementing cryptocurrency regulations, saying:
“There has to be regulation. This has to be applied and agreed upon, at a global level because if there is an escape that escape will be used.”
She cited that the top cryptocurrency was used mainly for money laundering activities. Although, she did not provide specific examples or elaborate on the money laundering cases, saying:
“Bitcoin is a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.”
When asked about Bitcoin’s recent bull run from $10,500 in Oct. 2020 to over $40,000 in Jan. 2021, Lagarde said that the cryptocurrency is a speculative asset by any account.
The president had repeatedly called against regulating the cryptocurrency. In Nov. 2020, she said that there is no identifiable issuer for BTC, which is the main reason why the cryptocurrency is highly volatile.
Lagarde also mentioned central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) at the conference. She said that as of yet, there is no specific timeline for the launch of the digital euro.
However, she did mention that a certain time will be taken on the project to ensure that the final product is safe and secured while adding it won't take more than five years. The president further reiterated that the digital euro would not eliminate banknotes.
The ECB has been looking into a euro-based digital currency since Facebook’s Diem (formerly libra) project was announced in June 2019.