Dutch payment forum declares bitcoin a threat

The Netherland’s National Forum on the Payment System has spoken out against the potential dangers of virtual currencies, warning financial institutions to be wary of them.

The Forum, which states its aim as improving the safety, reliability, accessibility and efficiency of the Dutch payment system, has pushed for greater innovation and strengthening of the country’s digital payment infrastructure. Their scope covers a broad range of online payment methods, ATM availability and compliance issues such as SEPA migration. But, it seems, the Forum draws the line at bitcoin.

In a meeting last month, the Forum concluded that virtual currencies are an “attractive target” for criminal activity, due to a lack of accountability and the “pseudo-anonymous” nature of their trading network. Since the entities that trade in them lack a central issuing body and are entirely unsupervised, they said, there is no one to be held liable for issues that arise, balances cannot be covered by a deposit guarantee scheme and virtual currencies tend to be unreliable.

The decision reflects steps taken earlier in the year by Chinese and Russian governments to clamp down on the use of bitcoin. In October, the currency was even made the subject of an “investor threat” alert by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). “The value of bitcoins and other digital currencies is highly volatile and the concept behind the currency is difficult to understand even for sophisticated financial experts,” it said.


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