ECB Officials Slam Bitcoin, Claims ‘Fair Value Still Zero’

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European Central Bank (ECB) advisors, Ulrich Bindseil and Jürgen Schaaf say Bitcoin has fallen short of its pledge to become a globally decentralized digital currency and remains scarcely utilized for genuine transactions.

The duo maintains that despite the recent endorsement of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approvals in the United States, it does not alter the reality that Bitcoin is unsuitable for use as a medium of exchange or investment.

In a blog post on ECB titled “the naked emperor’s new clothes,” they claimed that the ETF approval fails to address the fundamental flaws of Bitcoin as a global digital currency and investment asset.

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Evaluating Bitcoin’s Fundamental Value

Bindseil and Schaaf dismissed the notion that ETF approvals validate Bitcoin’s safety or success, asserting that their perspective on Bitcoin’s fair value remains unchanged at zero. They cautioned against another boom and bust cycle for Bitcoin, warning of potential collateral damage including environmental harm and wealth redistribution favoring the “less sophisticated.”

The financial advisors also condemned the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, comparing its energy consumption to that of entire countries. They criticized the recent rally in Bitcoin prices as being fueled by temporary factors like interest rate policy changes and the ETF approval, warning that such speculative bubbles ultimately lead to societal and environmental harm.

The Debate on Bitcoin’s Utility and Legitimacy

While acknowledging that their views do not necessarily reflect those of the ECB, Bindseil and Schaaf hold significant roles within the central bank. Bindseil serves as the ECB’s Director General of market infrastructure and payments, while Schaaf is an ECB adviser in the same unit.

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The advisors criticized Bitcoin’s transactional inefficiencies, highlighting its inconvenience, sluggishness, and high costs. They both argued that despite initiatives to combat criminal use, Bitcoin is primarily utilized for illicit activities on the darknet and is rarely used for legitimate payments, even in jurisdictions like El Salvador where it holds legal tender status.

Institutional Criticism Fuels Bitcoin’s Bullish Trend

In response to the post on X, a Bitcoin writer and Managing Partner at CH4 Capital, Daniel Batton, noted a significant rise in Bitcoin’s price following previous ECB criticisms, suggesting that negative sentiment from institutional entities like the ECB can fuel bullish sentiment among investors.

This latest critique from ECB advisors follows previous skepticism expressed in November 2022, coinciding with a bear market bottom for Bitcoin. Despite their persistent skepticism, Bitcoin has since experienced a substantial price rebound, leading to ongoing debates regarding its fundamental value and market dynamics.

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