Central Banks Round-Up: Brazil & New Zealand Issue Statements, Cryptos are Assets or Securities in Canada

During November, several central banks addressed bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. New Zealand’s central bank has issued a statement seeking to educate citizens of the fundamentals underpinning cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of such on monetary policy.  The senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada has stated that cryptocurrencies comprise assets or securities, rather than currencies. Brazil’s central bank also addressed cryptocurrencies during November, issuing a warning to investors.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Does Not Believe Cryptocurrencies Pose Existential Threat to Mainstream Financial Institutions

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has published a paper on cryptocurrencies titled “Crypto-currencies – An introduction to not-so-funny moneys.” The 44-page document seeks to “increase public understanding these technologies, highlight some of the risks involved in using crypto-currencies, and discuss some of the potential implications of these technologies for consumers, financial systems, monetary policy, and financial regulation.” The document also details the fundamental underpinnings and history of cryptocurrency, and provides definitions for terminologies relevant to the industry.

The document states that “Crypto-currencies expand the mechanisms by which people can transact with each other, strengthening competitive pressures on payment systems providers.” Despite such, the RBNZ states that due to the “relatively small volume of transactions” conducted using cryptocurrencies, “These new payment mechanisms are unlikely to completely supplant traditional payment systems.” The document also emphasizes the “incompatab[ility] of “the (pseudo) anonymity… of crypto-currency” with credit issuance – concluding that such prevents cryptocurrencies from posing a threat to many functions of traditional financial institutions…

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