The spectacular ascent of bitcoin’s price during 2017 has attracted global scrutiny. On Sunday, the French finance minister expressed the importance of an international dialogue on bitcoin’s risks and potential regulation.
While the European Central Bank’s president and vice president have downplayed the risk that cryptocurrency poses to monetary policy, it’s clear that other policymakers might not be so comfortably flippant. On December 17, 2017, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire spoke about digital currency with news channel LCI.
“I am going to propose to the next G20 president, Argentina, that at the G20 summit we have a discussion all together on the question of bitcoin, on risk assessment and possible regulation,” said Le Maire.
“There is evidently a risk of speculation,” the minister asserted. “We need to consider and examine this and see how … with all the other G20 members we can regulate bitcoin.”
Comprised of 19 countries, plus the European Union, the G20 plays a key rolein facilitating international conversations on economic policy. The G20’s partner organizations include the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In his announcement of G20 agenda priorities earlier this month, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina named “the future of work” as the first priority, which might bode well for Le Maire’s proposed discussion on cryptocurrency.
“Technology is quickening productivity at an unprecedented rate, which presents both opportunities and challenges,” said Macri. “We want to ensure that adopting technological advances does not lead to economic exclusion or other negative side effects.”
Of course, cryptocurrency – and especially non-fiat digital money – raises many questions about financial access and monetary policy. In France, Autorité Des Marchés Financiers (the country’s stock market regulator) recently initiated UNICORN, a program to support and research fundraising based on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The AMF simultaneously requested public comment on token offerings.
France’s finance minister also made headlines today by filing suit against Amazon for “imposing unfair commercial relationships to suppliers” in France. Le Maire is reportedly seeking a fine of 10 million euros ($11.8 million).