Australian central bank thinks cryptocurrencies have nothing on AUD

Tony Richards says cryptocurrencies gained minimal pickup in Australia, and it’s likely to stay that way for a while.

The head of payments policy of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the country’s central bank, stated in an event for the Australian Business Economists that he doubts bitcoin will take off in the country.

Dr. Tony Richards, who himself has owned “a small amount of bitcoin” since 2014, says that the stability of the Australian dollar removes the need for alternative currencies. Richards says that they have been watching cryptocurrencies over the last five years—and that they’ve got nothing on the Australian dollar’s 25-year stability record.

“When a country doesn’t have a credible currency, then people might look for other ones,” Dr Richards said. “Whether those are cryptocurrencies or something like the US dollar is another issue, but we in Australia have a perfectly credible currency called the Australian dollar. We’ve had low and stable inflation for at least 25 years, and the likelihood that we’d have significant adoption of an alternative currency seems to be pretty low.”

He says that the minimal pickup cryptocurrencies gained in Australia is likely to stay that way for a while.

“The use of cryptocurrencies in Australia is just so trivial that it doesn’t have an affect and I think we can assume that will be the case for a long time.”

Richards recognizes the risks, stating deficiencies in investor protection, such as in instances of hacks, as one of the big downsides to holding cryptocurrencies in addition to volatility.

“These risks acknowledged, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers are fascinating developments both from a payments and a broader economic perspective,” he said.
“There have been a lot of cryptocurrency hacks and there are a lot of risks there. With bitcoin, the only regulation to date has been AML. There hasn’t been any regulation in any country, that I’m aware of, that speaks to the question of investor protection.”

He does, however, admit that even for a skeptic, the designs of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are “admirable” and “fascinating.”

“Indeed, even if one is quite sceptical of whether bitcoin will have a significant role in the economy in the future, I think it is hard to avoid some admiration for its design,” he told the Australian Business Economists on Tuesday.

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