The chairman of Switzerland’s central bank believes cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are more of an investment than a currency, at present.
Speaking at an event in Basel on Thursday, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan struck a cautious tone about cryptocurrency’s usefulness as a transactional currency. Jordan, who notably servers as a director in the board of the Bank of International Settlements – commonly seen as a central bank for central banks – confirmed that multiple central banks around the world are looking into the issue of cryptocurrencies “very intensively.”
In quotes reported by Reuters, the central banker added:
I would look at them more as an investment than a currency. It is important to say it is not [a] question of technology, but a question of who has access to central bank money and in what form. There are up to now, many unsolved questions.
He went on to add that the financial ecosystem could be greatly affected by cryptocurrencies before calling on central banks to look into their advent.
Meanwhile, Switzerland has emerged as a leading destination for bitcoin and FinTech startups due to a generally positive societal outlook toward decentralized cryptocurrencies backed by regulatory stability that has been receptive to decentralized technologies.
A notable ongoing experiment sees bitcoin currently sold at ticketing kiosks across Switzerland by its national railway operator. In mid-2016, the town of Zug – now known as Crypto Valley – began a trial to accept bitcoin as payment for municipal services from citizens. The endeavor proved successful the town’s municipality continues to accept the cryptocurrency, validating it as a payment method. Come January 2018, the Swiss town of Chiasso, perched near the Italian border, will begin accepting the cryptocurrency for tax payments. These are examples of Swiss municipalities accepting bitcoin as a currency, contrary to the remarks of the Swiss National Bank chairman.
The town of Zug is also home to the Crypto Valley Association, an advocacy group for cryptocurrencies comprised of IT firms, universities, media houses and private equity firms backed by the Swiss government.
Swiss National Bank image from Shutterstock.