Date
22 January 2018
Amid fears that bitcoin could pose a threat to stability of traditional markets, France's Bruno Le Maire is urging the G20 to discuss digital currency regulation. Photo: Bloomberg
Amid fears that bitcoin could pose a threat to stability of traditional markets, France's Bruno Le Maire is urging the G20 to discuss digital currency regulation. Photo: Bloomberg

France seeks bitcoin regulation debate at G20

France will propose that the G20 group of major economies discuss regulation of the bitcoin virtual currency, the nation’s finance minister said on Sunday.

“I am going to propose to the next G20 president, Argentina, that at the G20 summit in April we have a discussion all together on the question of bitcoin,” Bruno Le Maire told French news channel LCI.

“There is evidently a risk of speculation. We need to consider and examine this and see how (…) with all the other G20 members we can regulate bitcoin,” Le Maire said, Reuters reports.

The comments came after bitcoin prices have risen more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year, triggering worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion.

On Friday, bitcoin hit another all-time high at US$17,900 on the Bitstamp exchange, up 9 percent on the day.

The digital currency has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December alone, putting it on track for its best month in percentage terms since December 2013, Reuters noted.

Market watchers said the price was being lifted by the launch of CME Group’s bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday.

But outside of the crypto market, worries continue to grow about the amount of money piling into the space.

A study by Anglia Ruskin University, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University released on Friday said bitcoin could pose a threat to the financial stability of traditional currencies and markets.

“Our evidence finds that the price of bitcoin has been artificially inflated by speculative investment, putting it in a bubble,” Reuters quoted Larisa Yarovaya, one of the report’s authors and a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, as saying.

“Although bitcoin is not regulated by governments, it could still have a knock-on effect on traditional markets due to the interconnectedness of cryptocurrency markets with other financial assets.”

European Union states and legislators agreed on Friday on stricter rules to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing on exchange platforms for bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

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RC

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