Skip to Content

Cryptocurrency is terrible as money but “crypto-assets” are for real, says Bank of England’s chief

March 2, 2018

Cryptocurrencies represent a deeply flawed form of money, but policymakers should be careful not to crack down too hard on “crypto-assets,” Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, argued in a speech (pdf) today.

Failing as money: Carney excoriated Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, calling them poor stores of value and inefficient media of exchange. The prospects that cryptocurrency will replace fiat money are “tenuous at best,” he said.

Don’t over-regulate: Cryptocurrencies are not “true currencies” and should instead be thought of as “crypto-assets,” Carney said, adding that they could have valuable future applications—for instance, as part of “more innovative, efficient, and reliable payment systems.” He cautioned against overzealous regulation or outright bans, lest they stifle innovation that could indeed lead to large-scale improvements in the financial system.

Kids’ stuff: Ultimately, Carney said, the British bank is keeping an “open mind” about whether it might one day issue its own digital money. But if it does, it “shouldn’t be a solution in search of a problem or an effort of central bankers to be down with the kids.”

For news and deep dives into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, check out our twice-weekly newsletter Chain Letter. Sign up here—it’s free!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.