Position of global political and financial leaders on cryptocurrency

27 June 2018

The problem of how cryptocurrencies and blockchain should be treated by nations remains open, as authorities across the globe are making efforts to regulate the new industry and the market formed by it. Despite many opinions elucidated by central banks and financial market regulators of different nations, reflections of the global leaders either remain vague or ambivalent. This is our selection of some expressions, comments and statements aimed at casting light upon the position held by world rulers.

Donald Trump

While Donald Trump has not yet provided any opinion on the blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, that has been done on several occasions by its administration. In late November last year during a press conference, Sarah Sanders, a White House Press Secretary to President Donald Trump, responding to the question on whether the President keeps the track of events in the industry, and Bitcoin specifically, made a statement that Trump is keeping an eye on it.

Meantime, Tom Bossert, a former Homeland Security Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, noted that Bitcoin remains a matter of concern for the Trump administration rather than of excitement.

Furthermore, these concerns are shared by Steve Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury. He said that the global leaders are required to cooperate on cryptocurrency issue to protect the financial markets, noting that his key focus about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin is to ensure that these are not used for illicit activities.

Theresa May

The UK’s leader, while being more open about her views of the cryptocurrency markets, has not gone too far from Donald Trum in her comments, stopping short of detailed explanation of how the UK government treats the issue. At the World Economic Forum 2018, she expressed her position only within the context of the cryptocurrency regulation and the need to track the cases of abuse.

May said that in such industries like cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin in particular, the UK government should practice wary attitude, taking the matter very seriously, especially given the fact that they may be misused for illicit purposes by the criminals.

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, serving as President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since 14 May 2017, talking to the World Economic Forum in January, made the following comment on cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin:

“”I’m in favour of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] having the mandate to police the entire global financial system, of which whole areas escape regulation. Such as Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies or shadow-banking.”

Christine Lagarde

Serving as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since 5 July 2011, Lagarde expressed her view of the cryptocurrencies this April in the official post on the IMF’s blog, stressing the potential capability of the decentralized assets to bring transaction fees, particularly in the international trade context, to a minimum level.

Talking about the potential of the cryptocurrencies to increase efficiency, Lagarde said:

“The underlying technology of crypto-assets—distributed ledger technology, or DLT—could help financial markets function more efficiently. Self-executing and self-enforcing ‘smart contracts’ could eliminate the need for some intermediaries.”

Lagarde also touched upon the question of regulating the industry by consolidate efforts at a global scale:

“Before crypto-assets can transform financial activity in a meaningful and lasting way, they must earn the confidence and support of consumers and authorities. An important initial step will be to reach a consensus within the global regulatory community on the role crypto-assets should play. Because crypto-assets know no boundaries, international cooperation will be essential.”

Jim Yong Kim

Jim Yong Kim, serving as the 12th and current President of the World Bank since 2012, also provided his comments on cryptocurrencies earlier this year at an event in Washington. He put cryptocurrencies in the same league as ‘Ponzi schemes’:

“In terms of using Bitcoin or some of the cryptocurrencies, we are also looking at it, but I’m told the vast majority of cryptocurrencies are basically Ponzi schemes. It’s still not really clear how it’s going to work.”

Kim expressed his hope that the blockchain technology may be used by developing nations for the purpose of following the money more effectively with a potential to level down the corruption.

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