Banker Who Called Bitcoin ‘Evil Spawn’ Heads BIS Digital Currency Hub

A former European Central Bank board member will chair a new arm of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) focusing on digital currencies and financial innovation.

In a press release on Nov. 11, the BIS confirmed Benoît Cœuré would begin chairing the Innovation Hub from January 15, 2020.

“The Hub’s mandate is to identify, and develop in-depth insights into critical trends in technology affecting central banking; develop public goods in the technology space geared towards improving the functioning of the global financial system; and serve as a focal point for a network of central bank experts on innovation,” the release explains.

Cœuré has already presided over a dedicated working group studying stablecoins.

Both the BIS and its chairman Agustín Carstens, although publicly critical of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), face a rapidly evolving financial environment. China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) — one of its members — could soon become the world’s first major economy to issue its own digital currency.

Cœuré commented:

“I look forward to bringing my expertise to the global central banking community at this time of rapid technological change. We must make the best use of innovation to support financial stability and promote financial inclusion.”

The Hub will operate in Hong Kong and Singapore, in addition to the BIS’ home of Switzerland.

The BIS agreed to partner with the Swiss National Bank (SNB) at the Hub in early October.

“The SNB has for some time been closely following the digitalization of the financial sector and technological innovations in the areas covered by its mandate,” Thomas J. Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the SNB, said at the time.

Last year, Cœuré himself described Bitcoin as the “evil spawn of the financial crisis.”

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