Stefan Ingves — chairman of global regulators at the Basel Committee and governor of Sweden’s Riksbank — is not boosting bitcoin. In fact, he told CNBC that he doesn’t even think it merits being called cryptocurrency.
“It’s a crypto-something,” he noted. “Kind of a crypto-asset but definitely not a cryptocurrency.”
Ingves said investing in bitcoin is likely a dangerous move — largely because bitcoin is insanely volatile at present and because it is largely unsupported by central banks or global regulators. Bitcoin is currently trading at a little under $16,000 after a massive run up to $19,000 Thursday that quickly cooled in a big way.
The price on Coinbase — one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges accounting for a third of bitcoin trading volume — is often at a premium over other platforms, according to media reports.
“If you look at what has happened in the past when it comes to reaching those type of heights, be it tulip bulbs or a bunch of other things over the centuries, the odds are against those who actually think that this is going to be the future,” Ingves said.
And old fashioned banking is moving forward into the future — financial regulators reached a long-sought deal to harmonize global banking rules on Thursday. The Basel Committee — a group of banking supervisors from the world’s top financial centers — has formally agreed on rules to help banks remain upright in the event of a financial crisis.
“Let me also stress that sometimes there is a bit of a hype when people talk about FinTech, thinking that old fashioned banking is going to go away,” Ingves also noted. “But I don’t think that is going to happen — because regardless of the technology available, in most countries we have had banks for hundreds and hundreds of years, and most likely it is going to continue that way.”
Banks, he noted, are both aware and interested in FinTech and the developments around it, though by their nature they are circumspect in their moving forward with it.
“It is a bit too early to say where that will take us when it comes to regulatory frameworks,” Ingves said.