A New Central Bank Crypto Rival Could End ‘Evil’ Bitcoin

The threat of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were mostly laughed off by central bankers before this year but social media giant Facebook’s libra project changed that.

The bitcoin price has doubled since the beginning of this year due to interest in bitcoin and crypto from the world’s biggest technology companies but its recovery stalled after Facebook’s plans looked likely to attract regulatory scrutiny.

Now, outgoing European Central Bank (ECB) executive board member Benoît Cœuré, who last year described bitcoin as “the evil spawn of the financial crisis,” has outlined plans for a European “central bank digital currency” to rival the likes of Facebook’s libra and bitcoin.

“A central bank digital currency could ensure that citizens remain able to use central bank money even if cash is eventually no longer used,” said Cœuré, speaking at a joint conference held by the ECB and the National Bank of Belgium this week.

“A digital currency of this sort could take a variety of forms, the benefits and costs of which the ECB and other central banks are currently investigating.”

Facebook’s plans to launch its own private digital currency, governed by a group of some 20 different companies, provoked a powerful reaction from world leaders and central bankers earlier this year, with many fearful libra would undermine countries’ economic control.

In August, Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who has previously poured scorn on bitcoin and its crypto peers, has said a global digital currency, like bitcoin, could replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

“The current situation has attracted new initiatives that aim to overcome shortcomings in cross-border retail payments by building a new separate payments ecosystem,” Cœuré said, without directly addressing bitcoin, crypto or…

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