Senior Bank of England Advisor Believes Cryptocurrencies Not a Threat to Traditional Finance

Huw van Steenis, a senior adviser to the Bank of England tasked with “leading a review on the future of finance” told Bloomberg in Davos this week that he believes that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to mainstream finance:

“I’m not so worried about crytocurrencies. They fail the basic tests of financial services. They’re not a great unit of exchange, they don’t hold value, and they’re slower.”

He did, however, express some concern about regulating the increasingly complex landscaped of new financial products and platforms:

“I think the bigger threat is…banking has traditionally been done by banks. As it moves to tech platforms, I think the banking system is unbundling. How do you keep supervision over a much more complex set of companies?”

Van Steenis believes banks are increasingly willing to try to compete with more nimble Fintechs:

“Customers just want something cheaper, faster better…” he sais, and “bit by bit” banks realize this and are working to address this demand. Still, “…cryptocurrencies not high on my worry list.”

Van Steenis nevertheless says it’s still “too early to say” who millennials will be banking with:

“What I love when meeting with Fintechs is their obsession with customers. The challenge is will they get customers before the traditional banks can innovate?”

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