Virtual currencies in the Eurosystem: challenges ahead

16-07-2018

Speculation on Bitcoin, the evolution of money in the digital age, and the underlying blockchain technology are attracting growing interest. In the context of the Eurosystem, this briefing paper analyses the legal nature of privately issued virtual currencies (VCs), the implications of VCs for central bank’s monetary policy and monopoly of note issue, and the risks for the financial system at large. The paper also considers some of the proposals concerning central bank issued virtual currencies. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Speculation on Bitcoin, the evolution of money in the digital age, and the underlying blockchain technology are attracting growing interest. In the context of the Eurosystem, this briefing paper analyses the legal nature of privately issued virtual currencies (VCs), the implications of VCs for central bank’s monetary policy and monopoly of note issue, and the risks for the financial system at large. The paper also considers some of the proposals concerning central bank issued virtual currencies. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.