October 31, 2017
For half a decade or more, some merchants have hoped that the digital currency bitcoin, and others that sprang up in its wake, would deliver on the promise of cheap online transactions not subject to chargebacks. It appears increasingly likely that, while the blockchain technology upon which bitcoin is based will experience wide use (including in payments), bitcoin itself will probably not be the disruptor many thought it would be. One central banker added his voice to the doubters this week.
“The use of bitcoin and other digital currencies as an actual method of payment remains relatively limited in Australia, as elsewhere,” said Tony Richards, head of payments for the Reserve Bank of Australia. “From the Bank’s payments policy mandate, digital currencies do not currently appear to raise any pressing regulatory issues.”
That the central bank’s regulatory response to bitcoin is centered around initial coin offerings and the use of digital currencies in illegal activities rather than payments is telling, Richards said.