Former Belgian Finance Minister Calls for Crypto Ban in Wake of Banking Crisis

Johan Van Overtveldt, economic spokesman for the right-wing ECR political party in the European Parliament, compared crypto to drugs.

AccessTimeIconMar 17, 2023 at 11:27 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 17, 2023 at 3:01 p.m. UTC

Johan Van Overtveldt, a member of the European Parliament and former Belgian finance minister, called for a ban on crypto in the wake of banking sector turmoil in a Friday tweet.

Van Overtveldt, the economic spokesman for a grouping of 64 European Union lawmakers, made the comments as the European Parliament prepares to vote on landmark crypto licensing rules for the bloc.

“Another lesson to be learned from the current banking commotion. Enforce a strict ban on cryptocurrencies,” Van Overtveldt tweeted, saying that the assets were mere speculation with “no economic or social value.”

“If a government bans drugs, it should also ban crypto,” he added, as repercussions from the failure of crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank and Silicon Valley Bank spread to European markets, including sending shares of Credit Suisse (CS) to a record low and forcing it to borrow $53 billion from the Swiss National Bank.

Van Overtveldt represents the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformers, the fifth-largest political grouping in the Parliament, in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. He was Belgium's finance minister from 2014 to 2018. The ECR says it's dedicated to individual liberty, private property and limited government.

The Parliament’s 705 lawmakers are due to vote as soon as next month on the Markets in Crypto Assets regulation, which will offer a regulatory framework for digital-wallet providers and exchanges.

Van Overtveldt led the Parliament’s work on a new law to allow trading of securities based on distributed ledger technology, and has said that the technology underpinning crypto has “great potential” to improve productivity.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.