President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, has lashed out harshly against cryptocurrencies. During an interview on Dutch television, she has stated that digital currencies are “not based on anything” and should be regulated to prevent people from speculating with them with their life savings.
“My very humble assessment is that (cryptos) are worthless, they are not based on anything, there is no underlying asset that acts as a security anchor,” Lagarde has emphasized.
The ECB president is concerned about people “who don’t understand the risks, who will lose everything and who will be terribly disappointed, so I think that should be regulated.”
Last year, Lagarde said bitcoin was being used to conduct “reprehensible” money laundering activity. The French banker and politician has repeatedly pushed for tighter regulation of cryptocurrencies in the EU and criticized bitcoin’s energy consumption.
During the interview, Lagarde defended the bank’s digital euro project, stating that it will be “very different” from private cryptocurrencies.
Lagarde also assured that she does not own any cryptoassets because she “wants to lead by example.” But she follows them “very carefully”, as one of her sons invested, against her advice. “He is a free man,” he has declared.
Earlier this month, Fabio Panetta, a member of the ECB’s executive board, said a digital euro could be launched in the next four years. He noted that central banks had to meet the growing demand for non-cash payments. He further stated that the digital asset market is like a Wild West.
Central banks remain highly critical of cryptocurrencies despite their proliferation, while 90% of global monetary supervisors are working on digital versions of their sovereign currencies.