Financial services giant UBS has no plans to get involved with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, according to one of its senior executives.
In an interview with Bloomberg, UBS chief investment officer Mark Haefele said that a lack of government oversight and “critical mass” around cryptocurrencies is keeping the company – Switzerland’s largest bank – out of the market.
Haefele also said that the idea the government could crack down on bitcoin, citing its possible use for terrorism financing, has also dampened any prospects of UBS getting involved.
He told Bloomberg:
“All it would take would be one terrorist incident in the U.S. funded by bitcoin for the U.S. regulator to much more seriously step in and take action. That’s a risk, an unquantifiable risk, bitcoin has that another currency doesn’t.”
Because bitcoin isn’t sponsored or backed by any government, it can be used to avoid being monitored, he argued. However, Haefele added that he does not think this situation will last.
He went on to say that the prevailing question around investing in anything is when to get out, asking: “So how do you know when to get out of a bitcoin investment?”
Haefele is not the first UBS member to openly express concerns about bitcoin. The company’s chief economist, Paul Donovan, compared bitcoin to the Netherlands’ 1637 tulip mania in a series of tweets earlier this month.
And the chief executive of UBS, Sergio Ermotti, told CNBC last month that he he far more bullish on blockchain than he is about cryptocurrencies specifically.
UBS image via YouTube