Ukrainian Central Banker: Bitcoin Is 'Definitely Not a Currency'


Ukraine does not recognize bitcoin as a currency or as a medium of exchange, an official at the country’s central bank has said.

“We can say that this is definitely not a currency, because there is no central issuer. And we cannot recognize this as a means of payment,” said Oleg Churiy, deputy head of the National Bank of Ukraine, according to a report Friday by the Ukrainian website Financial Club, as translated by Google.

Echoing recent comments by senior financial services executives in the U.S., the Ukrainian central banker described bitcoin as a risky investment for consumers and a vehicle for fraud. But he downplayed any systemic concerns about bitcoin and its brethren.

“World regulators are not concerned with any threat of cryptocurrency because of their small volume,” Churiy said at the Ukranian Financial Forum. “They are concerned only with the fact that people can lose money [by investing in them]. And fraud that can be [committed] with them.”

The Ukrainian central bank has been warning about the risks of bitcoin for several years, and last month it indicated it may soon regulate the use of cryptocurrencies.

Yet at the same time, Ukraine’s government has recently been testing the distributed-ledger technology that bitcoin inspired, in a novel use case: auctioning seized assets.

Bitcoin has even figured in Ukrainian politics in recent years, with separatists and other political dissidents using the permissionless, borderless system to raise and transfer funds.

Image of monument in Kiev by Shutterstock.

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