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The Minster of the Economy for France, Bruno Le Maire, has announced a “digital currencies mission” to examine cryptocurrencies and propose how to regulate them. Former deputy governor of the Bank of France Jean-Pierre Landau has been selected to lead the group.

During a wide-ranging speech yesterday Le Maire hit out at the disruption caused by financial speculation. “We want a stable economy”, he said, “we reject the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to Bitcoin”.

The choice of Landau to chair the group is indicative of French authorities’ concerns. Landau has previously argued that Bitcoin is “the tulip of the 21st century” and highlighted its appeal to criminals. Its anonymity “makes it suitable for tax evasion and money laundering” he wrote, but warned that “authorities are already wising up”.

Last month Le Maire revealed that he thought the situation around Bitcoin was serious enough that it should be discussed at international level, proposing that, “at the G20 summit in April we have a discussion all together on the question of Bitcoin.”

The German View

Meanwhile the German position is also moving towards the need for international regulation. Yesterday Joachim Wuermeling, a board member of the Bundesbank, cautioned that regulating cryptocurrencies on the national level may be doomed to failure.

Speaking at an event in Frankfurt, Wuermeling said that due to the limited power of individual countries, “effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation”.

Many major countries are now acknowledging the need for a coordinated approach. As reported yesterday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has announced that the American government will be, “working very closely with the G-20 in making sure that this [i.e. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies] doesn’t become the (new) Swiss bank account.

French Flag Image Via Shutterstock

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