The French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, gave a forty minute speech today where he snubbed "the risks of speculation, especially related to bitcoin."
In what is being described as a sweeping and overarching speech, Le Maire – flanked by the flags of France and the European Union – called upon Jean-Piere Landau, a former deputy governor of the Bank of France, to undertake an investigative "mission of cryptocurrencies." Le Maire elaborated about Landau's special task: "This mission will propose reorientations on the evolution of [cryptocurrency, and] regulation to better control development, prevent their use for [the] purposes of tax evasion, money laundering, or financing of criminals or terrorism."
The statement from Le Maire is his latest call for increased study and regulation of cryptocurrencies. "I am going to propose to the next G20 president, Argentina, that at the G20 summit in April we have a discussion all together on the question of bitcoin," Le Maire told French media late last month.
Le Maire's comments help describe what he believes to be a new emerging economic order, and also highlights the urgency with which he believes nations need to act. "We need to be clear that the international landscape is changing at a stupefying pace and is leading to deep changes in the balance of power and the economic game," said Le Maire, from Paris. "Given this great turning point, the conclusion is simple: there is not a moment to waste in accelerating the economic transformation of France and the transformation of the euro zone."
Le Maire's call for G20 nations to join together in comprehensive talks over bitcoin, and cryptocurrency more broadly, echoed recent sentiments from Joachim Wuermeling, a board member at Bundesbank in Germany, who had previously stated, "Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation, because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited."
The trend of national monetary and governmental authorities calling for supranational meetings on, and regulation of, cryptocurrencies could be a major emerging trend at the start of 2018.
The man tasked by Le Maire to get to the bottom of the cryptocurrency rabbit-hole, Jean Pierre Landau, was Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Bank in the early 1990s, has been a member of the international Financial Stability Forum and deputy of the G7 and G20. Landau has been critical of cryptocurrency since 2014, famously comparing "bitcoin mania" to the "tulip of the twenty-first century."
1/16/17: Correction made to misspelling of the French Minister's name.