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European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member Ewald Nowotny has called on governments to to regulate and tax Bitcoin (Bitcoin), labelling the cryptocurrency an object of speculation and a tool for money laundering, the Daily Mail reported.

"One ought to apply what the basic rule is in any other financial transaction: everyone involved should reveal their identity," Nowotny, who is head of Austria's central bank, told the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

He also called for a value-added tax on Bitcoin, “since it's not a currency."

The banker expressed concerns about potential uses in money laundering.

"It can't be allowed that we've just decided to stop printing 500-euro notes to fight money laundering, that we've slapped strict rules on every tiny savings club, and then have to watch people blithely laundering money around the globe with Bitcoin," Nowotny said.

The ECB official noted, however, that "the central bank would only have to intervene if Bitcoin were to change people's behaviour.”

“There are no signs of that yet," he said.

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