France’s economy minister has established a task force to examine the risks that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies present to the economy and propose regulatory guidelines that will mitigate these threats.
On Monday, economy minister Bruno Le Maire announced that his department had created a cryptocurrency task force that will be chaired by a former central banker.
“We want a stable economy: we reject the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to bitcoin,” Le Maire said, according to a rough translation. “I have just entrusted Jean-Pierre Landau, former deputy governor of the Banque de France, with a mission on cryptocurrencies.”
Laundau, dubbed “Monsieur Bitcoin” by French media outlet Les Echos, served as second deputy governor of the Banque de France from 2006 to 2011.
Despite this nickname, Laundau has been a fierce critic of cryptocurrency. In 2014, he penned a Financial Times op-ed in which he called bitcoin the “tulip of the 21st century” and said that no currency could succeed without active management from a central bank.
Accusing bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto of making a “fatal mistake” in restricting the currency’s supply, Landau said that bitcoin’s value was derived exclusively from its criminal use cases and investor speculation:
“The currency is at present attractive for two reasons. One is anonymity, which makes it suitable for tax evasion and money laundering. This will not last; authorities are already wising up. The other is pure speculation. Bitcoins are the tulips of modern times. The mania is not yet over. But the longer it lasts, the more investors are likely to be burnt,” he wrote.
According to Le Maire, Laundau’s task force will be responsible for “proposing guidelines on the evolution of regulations” with a specific focus on controlling the development of these nascent technologies and preventing “their use for purposes of tax evasion, money laundering, [and] financing criminal activities or terrorism.”
In addition to establishing a cryptocurrency task force, Le Maire has called for this year’s G20 summit to debate the creation of an international framework for cryptocurrency regulations, a proposal that has been met with approval by both Germany and Italy.
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