Governments and financial institutions usually don’t like anything that is not under their control. The same applies to cryptocurrencies. In this case, however, it seems that such careful policy (so-called risk-based approach) is justified.
To sum it shortly, I think most central banks and governments view cryptocurrencies as a means of exchange, rather than as a means of payment. As a result, state administrations accepts usage of cryptocurrencies between private entities, but will not accept cryptocurrency as a mean to pay taxes, just as it will not accept a payment of taxes in eggs.
See comprehensive examples of countries’ risk-based approach to virtual currency payments, prepared by Financial Action Task Force (2015).
Also, please see below citations from some institutions in this regard:
VCs [virtual currencies] offer many potential benefits, including greater speed and
efficiency in making payments and transfers—particularly across
borders––and ultimately promoting financial inclusion. The distributed
ledger technology underlying some VC schemes—an innovative
decentralized means of keeping track of transactions in a large
network––offers potential benefits that go far beyond VCs themselves.
At the same time, VCs pose considerable risks as potential vehicles
for money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and fraud.
While risks to the conduct of monetary policy seem less likely to
arise at this stage given the very small scale of VCs, risks to
financial stability may eventually emerge as the new technologies
become more widely used.
The development of effective regulatory
responses to VCs is still at an early stage. VCs are difficult to
regulate as they cut across the responsibilities of different agencies
at the national level, and operate on a global scale. Many are opaque
and operate outside of the conventional financial system, making it
difficult to monitor their operations.
Regulators have begun to
address these challenges, with a variety of approaches across
countries. Responses have included clarifying the applicability of
existing legislation to VCs, issuing warnings to consumers, imposing
licensing requirements on certain VC market participants, prohibiting
financial institutions from dealing in VCs, completely banning the use
of VCs, and prosecuting violators. These approaches represent an
initial policy response to the challenges that VCs pose, but further
development is needed. In particular, national authorities will need
to calibrate regulation in a manner that appropriately addresses the
risks without stifling innovation.
A number of international authorities have developed an interest in
VCS [Virtual currency schemes], including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), given the
potential risks for the integrity of the international financial
system. Several central banks and financial and supervisory
authorities around the world have warned users of the risks related to
holding and transacting virtual currencies, provided clarifications on
the legal status, started regulating certain activities or issued an
outright ban. However, the responses vary, depending to some degree on
the part of the world from which they originate and on the type of
For the tasks of the ECB as regards monetary policy
and price stability, financial stability, promoting the smooth
operation of payment systems, and prudential supervision, the
materialisation of these risks depends on the volume of VCS issued,
their connection to the real economy – including through supervised
institutions involved with VCS – their traded volume and user
acceptance. For the moment, all these risk drivers have remained low,
which implies that there is no material risk for any of the central
bank’s tasks as yet. Nevertheless, a major incident involving VCS and
a subsequent loss of trust in them could also undermine users’
confidence in electronic payment instruments, in e-money and/or in
specific payment solutions, such as those in place for e-commerce.
Therefore, the Eurosystem intends to continue to monitor
payments-related developments in virtual currency schemes.
Please also be aware of two issues while researching this topic:
- financial institutions often concentrate on virtual currencies as a whole rather than on a cryptocurrencies, which are type of virtual currencies without supervision of some central authority (so if Japan, Russia or Estonia issues virtual currency under their central bank, technically it will not ba a cryptocurrency); this means that while saying positive things about virtual currencies they often don’t think about eq. bitcoin, but rather new form of virtual currency under supervision of a central bank,
- the people most interested in cryptocurrencies are those, who own cryptocurrencies; thus, the information is usually presented more positive than the source of information intended.