Miguel Pesce, president of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA), affirmed that one of the objectives of the institution is to avoid linking bitcoin (BTC) with the exchange market. In addition, he argued that the cryptocurrency “is not a financial asset” because it does not underlie or generate any profitability, although he did not deny its usefulness as a payment method.
The manager of the highest financial institution of the country spoke in the framework of the opening of the third edition of the Digital Finance Forum , a virtual event that began this August 10 and is organized by the Argentine Institute of Executives of Finance (IAEF). This year’s motto is “The Digital Transformation Strategy.”
In his dissertation, as reported by the Télam News Agency, Pesce was categorical in affirm that the BCRA is going to “regulate the intersection of bitcoin with the payment system and the exchange market.” In this sense, it argued that the interaction of bitcoin with the exchange market “could be very detrimental to the instrument and also to the regulations of the Central Bank. Given this, the entity plans to “regulate the payment system with pesos through electronic mechanisms, which is our role as regulator.”
The main cryptocurrency, in Pesce’s vision, ” It was created as a substitute mechanism for transactions of money where the State did not fulfill a role. Regarding the denomination of bitcoin as an asset, Pesce stated that “despite the confusion” generated by its price increase “generated by being a scarce and limited good”, is not about a financial asset.
The official’s argument is based on the definition of the National Securities Commission (to which the BCRA subscribes), which states that the Financial assets are “securities issued by public or private entities in order to obtain financing from the public to carry out their activities.” In relation to this, Pesce stated that bitcoin “does not underlie any assets” and “cannot generate any returns”.
For this reason, he continued, the BCRA has the mission of “preventing low-sophistication investors” from operating with cryptocurrencies, in order to avoid losing their savings with inconvenient operations. “We are concerned that (cryptocurrencies) are used to generate undue profits on unsuspecting people,” he said, while remarking that their application in transactions is not an issue that bothers the Central Bank.
In this sense, the BCRA has issued several warnings in the past. For example, CriptoNoticias reported in May 2021 that the entity had reiterated a communication about the risks of operating with cryptocurrencies, something that it had already done seven years before.
The BCRA and digitization
This position of its president on digital assets does not mean that the Central Bank of Argentina is against digitization of the economy. On the contrary, the entity intends to take advantage of the high level of bankarization of the population (more than 90%, said Pesce) to promote digital transactions in the private sector.
«We are in a stage of finance in which digitization is advancing very strongly and puts us many challenges, “said the official, although he acknowledged that in Argentina people still” rely a lot on cash. ” One of the challenges for this is the interoperability between bank accounts and payment service providers, and the objective is to reach November with important advances in the topic. In this way, Pesce argued, the country will be able to take a step to “whiten the economy,” which in turn would have fiscal benefits for the State.
Despite this increasing digitization they seek, the BCRA president dismissed the possibility of Argentina developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Other countries have made progress in this regard, and even in Europe they have begun tests for the use of the digital euro.
The explanation that Pesce gave for this decision is based on the fact that they intend to “reserve the role of regulator for the Central Bank and that it is the private ones who disseminate the system and develop the technological platforms so that the transactions are carried out. ”