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World Bank forum weighs pros, cons of virtual currencies

Press Date: 
June 15, 2013
Press Source: 

Coin Desk

A roundtable discussion at the World Bank on Friday brought together a small group of officials for a closed-to-the-public, "frank discussion" about virtual currencies.

"Virtual Currencies: The Legal and Regulatory Challenges," was organized by the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development and was held at the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, DC. "A stocktaking roundtable will discuss legal and regulatory challenges associated to this new phenomenon. Virtual currencies are among the myriads of options for receiving payments and paying online. For example, Bit-Coin (sic) – one of the better known virtual currencies - has been in news recently because of the wild fluctuations in its 'value' and also significant venture capital investment in entities associated with it. How are policy makers, regulators and overseers approaching this?

What are the threats and opportunities associated with this new payment" Although no transcripts or recordings of the proceedings were made available, downloadable PDFs of the participants' presentations were featured on the forum's website. Iddo de Jong, senior expert in the market integration division of the European Central Bank (ECB), led off the roundtable with an overview of virtual currencies. In his presentation, he noted that the ECB -- Europe's equivalent of the US Federal Reserve -- began paying attention to "virtual currency schemes" in 2011 after "increased press coverage and following outside requests (public, press, public authorities)."

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