In 2018 central banks will hold cryptocurrency, alongside gold and foreign currencies, according to the CEO of Blockchain.info, Peter Smith.
Speaking in a short interview on CNBC’s Coin Rush segment, Smith forecast that next year would see the first such incorporations of crypto into traditional financial institutions, saying:
“I think this year will be the first year we start to see central banks start to hold digital currencies as part of their balance sheet.”
Bitcoin’s rapid rise this year, from around $1,000 in January to $20,000 this week, has attracted the attention of banks, governments and regulators globally. In some markets banks specifically have adopted varying and sometimes polarizing, views on the cryptocurrency’s future.
While South Korea’s Shinhan announced it would become the first major bank to offer customers Bitcoin wallets and storage, the Governor of Denmark’s central bank this week described Bitcoin as “deadly” and urged citizens to stay away from it.
As a trend, Smith continued, central banks would likely begin to issue their own branded digital assets “either late this year or early next year.” Multiple governments, including Russia's, are considering issuing a national digital currency, and Dubai has already officially decided to do so.
During the interview, when quizzed about the likelihood of a “major hack” occurring in the crypto space in the future, Smith said that since it had been around five months since the last major hack, the ecosystem was “due for one in the next month or two.” Speaking of his own company, he told CNBC:
“We’ve been one of the biggest targets for a long time; it keeps you busy.”