Italy's Economy Minister Blasts Crypto Market Bad Behavior

NEWS
Annaliese Milano
Jan 31, 2018 at 17:15 UTC  |  Updated  Jan 31, 2018 at 17:20 UTC

Italy's economy minister struck a critical tone on cryptocurrencies Wednesday, remarking during an event that damage could arise should a market bubble "explode" even as central banks eye the technology.

Speaking during an event at the Polytechnic University of Milan that was organized by energy giant Enel (which itself has trialed blockchain for energy trading purposes), Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan joined the growing chorus of government officials who have decried the price developments around cryptocurrencies in recent months.

"The oversight authorities are ever more active and the central banks are weighing whether to use cryptocurrencies but then, if the phenomenon explodes, they can do harm," Padoan remarked, according to a report from Ansa Business.

The publication also quoted Padoan as saying that the issue isn't strictly technological, but rather a consequence of how it's used.

"Blockchain is a technology and technology is one thing, and the use you make of it is another," he told event attendees. "The problem is not the technology but the behavior".

Speculation around cryptocurrencies has caught the attention of Italian regulators in the past, including its tax office, which in late 2016 moved to treat bitcoin as a kind of currency for tax purposes.

Market watchdogs have also targeted local promoters of the OneCoin investment scheme, which has been widely accused of being a Ponzi scheme, ultimately issuing a 2.59 million euro fine last August.

Pier Carlo Padoan image via Wikimedia Commons 

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ItalyBitcoinbitcoin bubblePier Carlo Padoan

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