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European Central Bank, Virtual Currency Schemes: A Further Analysis (Feb. 2015) (full-text).


Based on a further analysis carried out by the central banks of the Eurosystem during 2014 of Virtual currency scheme, this report adds perspective and detail, while reiterating and confirming the general consideration of the ECB's report on Virtual Currency Schemes (2012) that, although VCS can have positive aspects in terms of financial innovation and the provision of additional payment alternatives for consumers, it is clear that they also entail risks.

For the tasks of the ECB as regards monetary policy and price stability, financial stability, promoting the smooth operation of payment systems, and prudential supervision, the materialisation of these risks depends on the volume of VCS issued, their connection to the real economy — including through supervised institutions involved with VCS — their traded volume and user acceptance. For the moment, all these risk drivers have remained low, which implies that there is no material risk for any of the central bank's tasks as yet. Nevertheless, a major incident involving VCS and a subsequent loss of trust in them could also undermine users' confidence in electronic payment instruments, in e-money and/or in specific payment solutions, such as those in place for e-commerce. Therefore, the Eurosystem intends to continue to monitor payments-related developments in virtual currency schemes.