Paolo Savona, Consob: “Cryptocurrencies as State monopoly”
Paolo Savona, Consob: “Cryptocurrencies as State monopoly”
Regulation

Paolo Savona, Consob: “Cryptocurrencies as State monopoly”

By Eleonora Spagnolo - 24 Oct 2019

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The State must have a monopoly over cryptocurrencies according to Paolo Savona, president of Consob (National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange) which is the Italian supervisory authority of financial markets. 

Paolo Savona, former Minister for European Affairs, spoke during the presentation of the text “Fintech: rights, competition and rules”. On the subject of cryptocurrencies, the head of Consob said:

 “If they are currencies, the state must hold the monopoly of cryptocurrencies”

If they’re not currencies: 

  “They must be regulated and the supervisory authorities must have the power to intervene”.

For Paolo Savona, the transition to fintech can produce disasters if we are unprepared. It is no coincidence that the Consob president is worried about the openings made by the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Parliament, which have expressed approaches intended not to stifle this type of innovation. In contrast, Savona says he is concerned because these openings allow private individuals to access the system.

Even if we admit that the old system is outdated, the transition to the new one has not yet materialised. In this scenario, the fintech “is a discontinuity that does not allow us to go back to the past. For this reason, we must create a technical and legal structure that is attentive to all the new problems and able to respond to the challenges of the future”. 

After all, Savona adds, the SEC (American supervisory authority equivalent to the Consob) has already set up an ad hoc task force of 150 experts.

Savona, Consob, Libra and other cryptocurrencies

Savona has also expressed his opinion on bitcoin, expressing a certain amount of confidence:

 “Only bitcoin is impenetrable to hackers as a result of an economic problem, while other cryptocurrencies are penetrable and there is no one to inform users”.

On the subject of Libra, Savona continued:

 “The basic problem, if cryptocurrencies like Libra spread, is that it is necessary that they follow the bitcoin approach, but this cannot be done unless they have a fixed and non-expandable supply, 21 million units, whereas Libra is simply placed on the market (assuming it goes ahead, since problems are beginning to arise)”. 

The hostility towards Libra is total, because, explains Savona, it can elude the authorities:

“When taking resources and investing them, as was the proposal of Facebook and the other members of Libra, it is necessary to monitor the investment. Even if you live in Switzerland, gigantic problems of unbridgeability arise. Savings end there and go beyond our control, it’s a very serious problem”.

Paolo Savona’s doubts about cryptocurrencies and Libra, the Facebook stablecoin, arrive the day after the hearing in the US Congress of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The hearing did not dispel doubts about the social network’s project. And it’s no coincidence that even from Italy there are further doubts concerning Libra and cryptocurrencies. The path, for Libra and for the sector, remains uphill. 

 

Eleonora Spagnolo

Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.

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