For months now, the cryptosphere has been wondering about US policy towards cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. Indeed, certain decisions taken across the Atlantic by the new Biden administration could have significant consequences on the price of cryptos. Since her appointment, all eyes are logically focused on Janet Yellen, the new American Secretary of the Treasury. On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, she gave an interview in which she discusses her rather strong opinion on Bitcoin.
Janet Yellen was appointed in January 2021 to head the U.S. Treasury. In the past, Janet Yellen has been rather skeptical about cryptos. Much to the chagrin of the cryptosphere, early statements by the Treasury Secretary suggested that the recent boom in cryptos had not changed her mind! Indeed, Janet Yellen had mentioned in January the need to regulate cryptocurrencies. Moreover, she had pointed out the fact that, for her, cryptos were mainly a means of financing illicit activities.
Recently, she gave an interview in which she further clarifies her thoughts on Bitcoin. On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, she spoke with CNBC at the New York Times Dealbook conference. The opportunity to review some of the highlights of her interview.
Let’s face it, the general tone of the interview is rather negative about Bitcoin. First of all, Janet Yellen repeatedly stressed her concern about the “dangers” that Bitcoin would represent for investors. For her, Bitcoin’s excessive volatility makes its use almost impossible. Pointing to Bitcoin’s energy-intensive nature, she also pointed out that Bitcoin is “an extremely inefficient way to do business.
“It [Bitcoin] is a highly speculative asset, I think people should be aware that it’s extremely volatile and I’m concerned about the potential losses that investors could have. I don’t think Bitcoin…is used primarily as a means of trading. I’m afraid it is used more in the context of illicit finance.”
-Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary
Finally, Janet Yellen also mentioned the other major current event of the moment: the possible creation of a national electronic currency. Indeed, the Fed has been thinking for several months about the creation of a digital dollar or e-dollar. Unsurprisingly, Janet Yellen was rather ecstatic about this initiative! According to her, the e-dollar would be a means of payment “faster, safer and cheaper” than Bitcoin.
These rather strong statements have caused a lot of reaction on social networks. The debate on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the US has only just begun…