One of the three major questions that the President of the European Central Bank will be answering via a series of videos on Feb. 12, 2018 is about cryptocurrencies and Blockchain.
Mario Draghi will respond to the selected questions, whether Bitcoin offers a viable alternative to traditional currencies as well as comment on the ECB's view on its technology, provided they are submitted by Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. Europeans aged between 16 and 35 can also ask questions around three main topics: possibility of a new global economic crisis, cryptocurrencies and Blockchain, Europe’s economic recovery and youth unemployment
The session is part of the ECB’s third Youth Dialogue which usually constitutes a series of talks held by the Bank’s policymakers with students and young people from different countries and backgrounds.
As a prelude to the session, the ECB has launched a Twitter opinion poll to ask if Bitcoin could offer a viable alternative to traditional currencies. The poll by Europe’s top bank has received more than 15,500 responses in about 24 hours.
Central banks and crypto
Bitcoin’s volatility has earned criticism of being a vehicle for perpetrating fraud from the likes of Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of the US investment bank Goldman Sachs. Luxembourg's Finance Minister, Pierre Gramegna also suggested that the European Union could soon introduce new cryptocurrency regulations.
What is clear is that 2017 was a crucial year for Bitcoin. Top digital currency soared in popularity globally as its value rose sharply, while crypto gained mainstream media’s attention.
Though there is no evidence, such awareness increased its adoption in Europe, available statistical data about 2017 shows that its use as an every-day payment method in main European economies is still minimal.
Crypto Q&A at the Youth Dialogue
Nevertheless, it is obvious that new information has been dropped into the public domain for many people to sort on their own. It should make the ECB’s Q&A session to be an interesting watch even if nothing new is expected.
The session is coming in the wake of the recent suspension of Bitcoin-backed Visa debit cards in Europe and proposed introduction of EU-wide regulation on such currencies. It’s also worth thinking what the outcome could mean for the affected payment processors who are reportedly in talks with alternate card issuers in Europe and for those seeking to set up a crypto/fiat bank that would be independent of traditional banks.