U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell turned up the heat on cryptocurrencies on Thursday, saying they pose risks to financial stability, and indicating that greater regulation of the increasingly popular electronic currency may be warranted.
The Treasury Department, meanwhile, flagged its concerns that wealthy individuals could use the largely unregulated sector to avoid tax and said it wanted big crypto asset transfers reported to authorities.
The back-to-back announcements came in a week when Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, took a wild ride, falling as much as 30% on Wednesday after China announced new curbs on the sector, underscoring the volatility of the sector.
While highlighting the potential benefits of advances in financial technology, Powell said cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and other innovations “may also carry potential risks to those users and to the broader financial system.”
As the technology advanced, “so must our attention to the appropriate regulatory and oversight framework. This includes paying attention to private-sector payments innovators who are currently not within the traditional regulatory arrangements applied to banks, investment firms, and other financial intermediaries.”