European Central Bank says bitcoin is on the ‘road to irrelevance’

The European Central Bank gave a robust critique of bitcoin on Wednesday, saying the cryptocurrency is on a “road to irrelevance.”

In a blogpost titled “Bitcoin’s last stand,” ECB Director Normal Ulrich Bindseil and Analyst Jürgen Schaff stated that, for bitcoin’s proponents, the obvious stabilization in its value this week “signals a breather on the way to new heights.”

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“More likely, however, it is an artificially induced last gasp before the road to irrelevance — and this was already foreseeable before FTX went bust and sent the bitcoin price to well below USD16,000,” they wrote.

Bitcoin topped $17,000 Wednesday, marking a two-year excessive for the world’s largest digital coin. Nonetheless, it struggled to keep that stage, falling barely to $16,875. Vijay Ayyar, vp of company improvement and worldwide at crypto trade Luno, warned that the bounce is probably only a bear market rally and wouldn’t be sustained. “This is just a bearish retest,” he advised CNBC.

The remarks from the ECB officers are well timed, with the crypto business reeling from one among its most catastrophic failures in current historical past — the downfall of FTX, an trade as soon as valued at $32 billion. And the market has been largely down in the dumps this 12 months amid greater rates of interest from the Federal Reserve.

Bindseil and Schaff stated that bitcoin did not match the mould of an funding and wasn’t appropriate as a way of fee, both.

“Bitcoin’s conceptual design and technological shortcomings make it questionable as a means of payment: real Bitcoin transactions are cumbersome, slow and expensive,” they wrote. “Bitcoin has never been used to any significant extent for legal real-world transactions.”

“Bitcoin is also not suitable as an investment. It does not generate cash flow (like real estate) or dividends (like equities), cannot be used productively (like commodities) or provide social benefits (like gold). The market valuation of Bitcoin is therefore based purely on speculation,” they added.

Analysts say that FTX’s insolvency is probably to hasten regulation of digital currencies. In the European Union, a brand new legislation referred to as Markets in Crypto Belongings, or MiCA, is anticipated to harmonize regulation of digital belongings throughout the bloc.

Bindseil and Schaff stated it was necessary not to mistake regulation as an indication of approval.

“The belief that space must be given to innovation at all costs stubbornly persists,” they stated.

“Firstly, these technologies have so far created limited value for society — no matter how great the expectations for the future. Secondly, the use of a promising technology is not a sufficient condition for an added value of a product based on it.”

Additionally they raised issues with bitcoin’s poor environmental credentials. The cryptocurrency’s technical underpinnings are such that it requires a large quantity of computing energy so as to confirm and approve new transactions. Ethereum, the community behind bitcoin rival ether, just lately transitioned to a brand new framework that backers say would lower its power consumption by greater than 99%.

“This inefficiency of the system is not a flaw but a feature,” Bindseil and Schaff stated. “It is one of the peculiarities to guarantee the integrity of the completely decentralised system.”

It isn’t the first time the ECB has raised doubts about digital currencies. ECB President Christine Lagarde in Could stated she thinks cryptocurrencies are “worth nothing.” Her feedback got here on the again of a separate scandal for the business — the multibillion-dollar implosion of so-called stablecoin terraUSD.

– CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report

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