Draghi Says EU Central Bank Lacks Authority To Regulate, Prohibit Cryptocurrency

President Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank (ECB) has said that the body he leads lacks the authority to regulate or prohibit bitcoin and other digital currencies. 

He made the comment during a Q&A session following a speech he delivered to the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, in response to a question on whether the ECB intends to regulate or ban cryptocurrencies.

Draghi explained that while the ECB has yet to formally discuss the topic, he anticipates that the major issues to consider will be the scale, extent of use, and economic impact of cryptocurrency, adding that the ECB’s top concern around the technology has to do with cybersecurity. 

Draghi made headlines earlier this month when he responded to suggestions that Estonia might consider issuing its own state-backed cryptocurrency by declaring categorically that, “No member state can introduce its own currency. The currency of the eurozone is the euro.”

Last week, ECB vice-president Vítor Constâncio laughed off the idea that bitcoin could represent “a threat to central banking or monetary policy,” comparing the cryptocurrency to the tulips that created a bubble in the 17th-century Dutch market. 

Around the same time, Germany’s central bank issued the prediction that blockchain technology is unlikely to gain “widespread use in the field of individual and retail payments.”