Bitcoin “Funny Business” Needs Regulation Says Lagarde

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  • Christine Lagarde has called for “global” regulation of Bitcoin
  • The European Central Bank president told Reuters that Bitcoin has been the medium for “totally reprehensible money laundering activity”
  • Cryptocurrency regulation is at its tightest yet while illegal use of Bitcoin is dropping year on year

The head of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde on Wednesday called for global regulation of Bitcoin, saying the cryptocurrency is used for “funny business” and labeled it a “highly speculative asset”. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, who has long been a fan of blockchain technology and is pushing for a digital euro, added that there “has to be regulation” despite the rate of regulation, or at least promised regulation, at its highest level ever.

Lagarde Warns of Regulatory Loopholes

Despite having spoken of cryptocurrencies on several occasions in recent years, Lagarde has tended to keep silent on Bitcoin itself, preferring to talk about the sector as a whole. Yesterday’s comments mark a departure from this, telling Reuters that Bitcoin’s nefarious history was still, at least to her, a source for concern:

(Bitcoin) is a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.

When pushed for examples of such cases, Lagarde was only able to point to her understanding that there had been criminal investigations into Bitcoin being used for such purposes, but did not elaborate. Lagarde continued by saying that there needs to be a coordinated effort to regulate Bitcoin worldwide so that those using it for nefarious purposes don’t find loopholes:

There has to be regulation. This has to be applied and agreed upon … at a global level because if there is an escape that escape will be used.

Bitcoin Is Cleaning up Its Act

Lagarde’s comments come in the wake of Bitcoin’s increased acceptance as an alternative store of value by institutions and hedge funds and amid the tightest regulations ever imposed on the cryptocurrency. It also comes after several studies last year which pointed out that Bitcoin’s use as a medium for illegal activities has fallen dramatically in recent years.