ECB says regulating cryptocurrencies is 'not exactly very high on our to-do list'

  • "We scrutinize the issue in a regulatory perspective, we are ready to do something if it was needed, but so far it's not exactly very high on our to-do list," the central bank's chief supervisor Daniele Nouy told CNBC on Wednesday.
  • Bitcoin has seen a huge fall in recent days, dropping below $6,000 for the first time since mid-November. On Wednesday, it was trading above the $7,000 level as the cryptocurrency market stabilized.

The regulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is far from being a top priority for the European Central Bank (ECB).

"We scrutinize the issue in a regulatory perspective, we are ready to do something if it was needed, but so far it's not exactly very high on our to-do list," the central bank's chief supervisor Daniele Nouy told CNBC on Wednesday.

Still, Nouy said the ECB would need to keep an eye on cryptocurrencies as new risks emerged, such as bitcoin futures contracts on U.S. stock exchanges. Nonetheless, she said there had been no signs of any developing interest among European lenders for the time-being.

'Limited appetite'

Bitcoin has seen a huge fall in recent days, dropping below $6,000 for the first time since mid-November. On Wednesday, it was trading above the $7,000 level as the cryptocurrency market stabilized.

At its lowest point Tuesday, the total cryptocurrency market saw over $550 billion wiped off its value.

On Monday, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank's supervisory board was working to assess whether digital currencies posed any potential financial stability risk. In a speech delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Draghi added that European banks were showing "limited appetite" for digital currencies like bitcoin.