European Central Bank ‘very unlikely ever to buy bitcoin’: Board member

Several central banks hold gold, but Europe’s won’t be buying“digital gold” anytime soon

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A potential spot bitcoin ETF would expose more traditional investors to the flagship cryptocurrency, but there’s one buyer they can rule out: the European Central Bank. 

ECB executive board member Isabel Schnabel wrote in a Wednesday morning Q&A on X that the bank “is very unlikely to ever buy Bitcoin” after being asked whether the ECB would acquire the asset for its balance sheet.  

The European Central Bank is tasked with controlling monetary conditions in the bloc of European Union countries that use the euro. Its US equivalent would be the Jerome Powell-led Federal Reserve.

Read more: Bitcoin ETF war enters end game: BlackRock, Ark cut planned fees

Schnabel was nominated by the German government to serve on the ECB’s executive board in 2019. The executive board is a six-person committee responsible for implementing monetary policy based on guidance given by the ECB’s governing council.

Schnabel has been known for hawkish views on interest rate hikes during Europe’s battle with inflation, though she recently reversed course on the subject.

Schnabel is the latest in a succession of ECB board members to speak publicly about crypto. Elizabeth McCaul and Fabio Panetta both called for tougher regulation on cryptocurrencies and exchanges last year. 

The ECB is among a slew of central banks exploring a central bank digital currency (CBDC), a digitized version of a fiat currency. The ECB is still in a “preparation phase” for its digital euro. Crypto boosters tend to pan CBDCs — which are regulated by central banks and may run on permissioned blockchains. 

Multiple European central banks have notable gold reserves on their balance sheets, with some purchasing more of the commodity in recent years. But central banks have been slow on the uptake of bitcoin, which some cast as a digital equivalent to gold. 

Even with a spot bitcoin ETF on the horizon, this seems unlikely to change, at least for now. Schnabel’s post drew ire from online bitcoin fans.

“This post will age terribly,” one X user wrote in response.


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