A European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member said yesterday that lawmakers and central banks are examining whether they should regulate cryptocurrencies.
According to a Reuters report, Ewald Nowotny, president of the National Bank of Austria, said:
"We're asking ourselves if legislators or central banks should intervene."
Nowotny made his comments at a conference in Florence, Italy, according to the news source.
The regulatory focus comes following China's recent crackdown on bitcoin exchanges, he said, adding that the authorities there considered cryptocurrencies "fraudulent."
The council member took a neutral stance on the risks of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, though, saying, "It is like buying shares on the bourse ... people investing in this product can suffer losses."
Just a month ago, Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, said that cryptocurrencies are not "mature" enough to be regulated. And, in September, he indicated that his institution does not have the authority to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Also in September, China's cryptocurrency exchanges received instructions from the country's regulators, asking them to stop trading due to the fact that they are operating domestically without a formal license.
Ewald Nowotny image via Franz J. Morgenbesser/Flickr