Bitcoin is a “Highly Speculative Asset”, Says Federal Reserve’s Yellen

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In her final press conference as Fed Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen called bitcoin “a highly speculative asset” that “doesn’t constitute legal tender.”

Yellen was speaking to reporters in her final presser on Wednesday (her term comes to an end in February) when the subject of bitcoin came up.

Bitcoin isn’t a stable store of value and makes for a “very small role” in the American payments system, Yellen replied.

Her comments in full, read:

“I would simply say that Bitcoin at this time plays a very small role in the payments system. It is not a stable store of value and it doesn’t constitute legal tender. It is a highly speculative asset.

The Fed doesn’t play any regulatory role with respect to Bitcoin other than assuring that banking organizations that we do supervise are attentive that they are appropriately managing any interactions they have with participants in that market and appropriately monitoring AML acts and other responsibilities that they have. “

“Has there been a directive about bitcoin to the banks and their dealings with bitcoin from the Federal Reserve?” Yellen was asked by one reporter following up on her remarks.

“I don’t believe there has been anything specific about that,” she replied. “Generally, banks have bank secrecy act, AML responsibilities and this applies to bitcoin as it does with every other realm.”

Some of Yellen’s earliest comments on Bitcoin make for compelling reading. As reported by CCN in early 2014, Yellen underlined bitcoin as a “payment innovation” taking shape outside the banking industry. “[T]he fed doesn’t have [the] authority to supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way,” Yellen said at the time.

Speaking at the Federal Reserve Annual Meeting this year, a three-day event attended by representatives from over 90 central banks, Yellen encouraged her counterparts to study blockchain technology.

Featured image from Flickr/International Monetary Fund.

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