The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is “of great concern,” according to Derville Rowland, one of the top officials at Ireland’s central bank.
“Crypto assets are quite a speculative, unregulated investment,” and people should be “really aware they could lose the whole of that investment,” the central bank’s director general for financial conduct said in an interview.
Rowland, whose department at Ireland’s central bank is known for having imposed heavy fines on some of the nation’s biggest financial firms, joins a host of central bankers who have raised the alarm on crypto investments.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has warned cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value and that people should only buy them if they’re prepared to lose their money. Last week Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda added his voice to the chorus of concern, noting Bitcoin’s “extraordinarily high” volatility. Bitcoin has risen about 30% year to date.
Rowland is formidable voice in regulation. In July she will take over as chairwoman of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s investment management standing committee — the group which helps prepare regulations for the funds industry.