Blockchain technology firm Tembusu Systems has hit back at claims Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis' role as its advisor represents a "conflict of interest" for the politician.
This role "raises legitimate questions about a conflict of interest in Varoufakis’ support of an extreme albeit innovative method for financial transactions," the paper said.
The finance minister has not played any active role for Tembusu since his decision to stand in Greece's elections. His last contribution was in December 2014, it said.
Since the Proto Thema article appeared, Varoufakis' name and photo have been removed from Tembusu's team page.
Lack of bitcoin understanding
Proto Thema (translated as 'Lead Story') is a populist tabloid-style Greek newspaper published weekly. It is reportedly the highest-selling weekly in the country, with circulation often topping 200,000 in the small Greek market.
In its statement, Tembusu took issue with some areas of the paper's reporting. Besides describing bitcoin as "obsolete and hazardous", the English version of Proto Thema's article describes Tembusu as "a controversial Singaporean company that launched the digital currency Bitcoins".
The firm also denied it could be termed a 'bitcoin company', saying its role is developing "blockchain technology for commercial applications, including payment systems, remittance and digital wallets".
"We do not deal with bitcoins or any existing cryptocurrency," the company added.
Varoufakis and bitcoin
Varoufakis was a well-known economist, author, speaker and media figure before becoming Greek finance minister in January. Once an economic advisor to former Greek prime minister Georges Papandreou, he now describes himself as a 'libertarian Marxist'.
He has long been interested in, if not a particularly keen supporter of, bitcoin and cryptocurrency more broadly.
The latter post described bitcoin technology as potentially beneficial in building electronic payment systems, but "too deflationary by nature to act as a widespread currency alternative" to the euro or dollar.
, which began as a company producing bitcoin ATMs, has since diverted its focus away from bitcoin and has built a new digital financial framework called TRUST.
The TRUST network is a non-bitcoin, blockchain-based system designed for the transfer and management of various assets instantaneously and worldwide.
It relies on real-life identities to build reputations and can link to existing financial institutions, remittance networks, government services, and other services for businesses and individuals.
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