The former chairperson of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures bank deposits in the U.S., says that cryptocurrencies shouldn’t be outlawed.
According to a new interview published by Barron’s, Sheila Bair suggested that while bitcoin and other cryptos lack an “intrinsic value,” so do currencies such as the U.S. dollar.
“I don’t think we should ban it – the green bills in your pocket don’t have an intrinsic value, either,” she was quoted as saying.
The comments from Bair – who led the government corporation between 2006 and 2011 – are notable, given the growing scrutiny being applied to the market from a range of regulators worldwide. Bair, who has opined about cryptocurrency regulation in the past, is also a member of blockchain startup Paxos’ board of directors.
Indeed, she suggested that as far as the price of cryptocurrencies is concerned, the market itself is best equipped to ascertain some kind of value.
“Let the market figure out what it’s worth,” she told the publication. “That is what it is doing now.”
That said, Bair didn’t say that regulators should take an entirely hands-off approach. Officials, she indicated, should push for “good disclosure, education, warding off fraud, and making sure it is not being used for illicit activities.”
In the U.S. itself, the Trump administration is taking an increasingly proactive tack in this area, as evidenced by recent comments from officials like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, among others.
During her interview, Bair also had some words of wisdom for those looking to potentially invest in cryptocurrencies, telling the publication:
“Don’t put any money into bitcoin that you can’t afford to lose.”
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Paxos.
Sheila Bair image via Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock