Crypto More of Investment Than Currency: SNB Chairman

Swiss National Bank head adopts cautious stance on cryptocurrencies.

Swiss National Bank chairman Thomas Jordan has weighed in on cryptocurrencies, claiming Bitcoin and other digital coins are more of an investment as opposed to a currency.

Speaking at an event in Basel today, Jordan said:

“Central banks are working on this [the issue of crypto currencies] very intensively. I would look at them more as an investment than a currency.”

However, Jordan did suggest that cryptocurrencies are still being analyzed by central banks worldwide, and there are many aspects of digital currencies that have yet to be resolved by financial institutions.

“It is important to say it is not question of technology, but a question of who has access to central bank money and in what form. There are up to now many unsolved questions.”

He went on to add that the rise of cryptocurrencies has the potential to have a strong impact on the current financial system; for this reason, it is essential for central banks to undertake a detailed study of the new technology and its implications.

Cryptocurrencies have been a contentious subject for central banks and governments around the world. The stance of the Russian and Chinese governments, for example, has been overtly suspicious, bordering on hostile, while some countries such as Morocco and Vietnam have issued outright bans on digital currencies.

However, Switzerland has, thus far, been a relatively safe haven for cryptocurrencies. Zug, a town in Switzerland, has become known as the Crypto Valley, as it is home to multiple crypto-related projects such as Ethereum, Bancor, and Tezos. In addition, citizens in certain localities of Switzerland also have the option to pay their taxes in Bitcoin.

While the SNB chairman’s stance is far from hostile, the comments may be motivated by the fact that governments and central banks worldwide are starting to adopt official positions on cryptocurrencies, while some are in the midst of developing rules and regulations to monitor Bitcoin and the like. In light of these developments, it appears the Swiss National Bank may be considering taking a closer look at cryptocurrencies and their status as means of payment in the existing economy.