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In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, Huw van Steenis, senior advisor to Bank of England’s Governor Mark Carney admonished digital currencies saying that “cryptocurrencies fail fundamental tests of financial services.” It is not the first time, however, that such a statement came from him. Last year in September, he bashed the Bitcoin on his Op-Ed in the Financial Times with thoughts on “Why Bitcoin Fails the Innovation Test.”
Van Steenis, an erudite in the field of finance and having vast experience in working with top firms like Schroders and Morgan Stanley, became a senior advisor to the Governor of the Bank of England in 2018. He is currently leading a review of the past, present, and future of finance to come up with a strategy that can help the UK to become a vibrant center of financial services.
Speaking with Bloomberg Television’s duo Tom Keene and Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Surveillance on Monday, he said that digital coins such as Bitcoin aren’t currently high on his list of concerns. Moreover, answering the question if cryptocurrencies are a real threat, Huw van Steenis said:
“I’m not so worried about cryptocurrencies. They fail the basic tests of financial services. They’re not a great unit of exchange, they don’t hold value, and they’re slower. Cryptocurrencies aren’t high on my worry list.”
Talking about challenges for BOE, he suggested to focus on the regulations of entrants to the banking system, especially from the technology domain. “What I love when meeting with FinTechs is their obsession with customers,” he said. “The challenge is will they get customers before the traditional banks can innovate.”
Bloomberg TV tweeted after the interview another quote from the BOE senior advisor: “Customers want something cheaper, faster and better from banks.”
It seems that Van doesn’t consider the Bitcoin as the next big thing. However, most tech experts in the crypto community do back Van’s statement, especially in comparison with other cryptocurrencies, acknowledging that Bitcoin on its own is relatively slow and cumbersome.