Bitcoin has ‘pretty much failed’ as a currency, Bank of England Governor Carney says

  • Bitcoin "has pretty much failed thus far on ... the traditional aspects of money," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said.
  • Authorities have been weary of virtual currencies because of their volatile nature and illicit activities involving their use.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney raised concern over extreme volatility in the world's best known digital currency.

"It has pretty much failed thus far on ... the traditional aspects of money. It is not a store of value because it is all over the map. Nobody uses it as a medium of exchange," Carney said, according to Reuters.

The central banker made the comments at a talk at Regent's University, London, on Monday evening.

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market value. It is underpinned by a blockchain network, which maintains a continuously growing record of transactions across a decentralized network.

In bitcoin's white paper, penned by its mysterious inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, the cryptocurrency was envisioned as a "purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash," devoid of intermediaries like banks and governments.

Bitcoin has soared substantially over the last 12 months, rising more than 900 percent since February 20 last year, despite huge bouts of price volatility. It is still more than $8,000 off an all-time high it reached in December.

Authorities have been weary of virtual currencies because of their volatile nature and illicit activities involving their use, although some countries are considering the launch of their own virtual alternatives to money.

On Tuesday, Venezuela will launch a pre-sale of its own cryptocurrency, the petro, which the country's government claims will be backed by oil and other commodities. Skeptics are concerned that the petro could be manipulated by Caracas.

Elsewhere, Sweden is looking into the possibility of a digital version of the Swedish crown, called the "ekrona," as cash use in the Scandinavian country has steeply declined in recent years.