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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

The wild ride of cryptocurrencies

The past week has been very eventful for digital currencies like bitcoin with volatile trading and regulatory crackdown

The past week or so has been quite interesting in the world of bitcoin and an increasing number of its cryptocurrency peers.

China cracked down on the virtual currencies, bitcoin traders were taken for a wild ride in three days of volatile trading, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud” and Bank of International Settlements (BIS) came and said central banks around the globe can’t ignore the growth in the likes of bitcoin.

The BIS comments are a big nod of confidence for virtual currencies -- something most people know of but not necessarily understand.

In less than a decade bitcoin has gone from being an “obscure curiosity to a household name” but it is unlikely that the virtual currencies will displace sovereign currencies, the BIS said in its quarterly report.

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Read more:

Global central banks considering own cryptocurrencies but risks to financial system still unclear, BIS says

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It is time, the report said that central banks around the world take a look at the cryptocurrencies and consider whether it makes sense for them to issue their own digital currencies. “Whether or not a central bank should provide a digital alternative to cash is most pressing in countries, such as Sweden, where cash usage is rapidly declining,” the BIS has pointed out.

The banking regulator in the UAE is already conducting a review of the digital currencies. The National last week reported that the study is close to a conclusion and may result in new regulations on digital currencies like bitcoin. The spotlight is on how other governments around the world have responded to the challenge of virtual currencies, which have been favoured by criminals and money launderers due to lack of regulations.

What will be the result of regulatory review in the UAE? Would the central banks around the globe will feel compelled to take a look at digital alternatives of currencies at some point in future? Would bitcoin and the likes of it come out on top and win regulatory favour? It remains to be seen and we don’t know the answers to these questions. But with the leaps in technology and fast declining use of cash in the developed and developing worlds, virtual currencies may have a future after all.

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