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Virtual Currencies To Go Down as ‘Load of Nonsense,” Says ECB's Hansson

Ott Ummelas and Aaron Eglitis

(Bloomberg) -- Crypto currencies will probably die as a “complete load of nonsense,” according to European Central Bank policy maker Ardo Hansson.

“The bubble has already started to collapse and maybe we should just see how far this collapse goes, and what is left when we’ve reached a new kind of equilibrium,” the Estonian central-bank governor told a conference in the Latvian capital of Riga. “I think we will come back a few years from now and say how could we ever have gotten into this situation where we believed this kind of a fairy-tale story.”

Still, Hansson warned that authorities may need to focus on investor-protection aspects “if grandmothers start investing in that,” and highlighted concerns that crypto currencies can be used for illegal activities. Financial-stability issues may arise if links between virtual assets and the regulated financial sector are starting to increase, he added.

While Hansson has voiced similar views earlier, the country’s financial watchdog warned recently that it views companies providing services linked to crypto assets as a new source of money-laundering risks. The nation’s police issued almost 500 licenses to crypto-currency exchange providers in a year, and more than 440 licenses to companies offering a wallet service. A frontrunner in digital services, Estonia is still reeling following the $235 billion dirty-money scandal that has engulfed the country’s branch of Danske Bank A/S.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net;Aaron Eglitis in Riga at aeglitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Jana Randow, Carolynn Look

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