Investors are now even taking out loans to buy bitcoins, the first and well-known cryptocurrency running in the market. This becomes a problem due to the crash. Governments now want to intervene.
18% of Investors Buy Bitcoin on Credit
Given these price fluctuations, it is correspondingly worrying that investors are increasingly in debt for the purchase of cryptocurrencies. It is more alarming that many people in bad debt jump into the wagon borrowing more money from agencies. Because like the Brockhoffs, 18 percent of Bitcoin buyers are already taking out a loan. This is shown by a survey of 3000 investors in the USA and Europe, which the Coindesk website has just published.
Wolf Brandes from the Hessen Consumer Advice Center considers this to be a critical development: “An investment in bitcoins is highly risky, in the worst case there is a risk of a total loss.” Anyone who has taken out a loan quickly remains on debt. Brandes already feels reminded of the Neuer Markt. Back then, investors also dreamed of big profits, bought stocks at the pump – and ended up losing a lot of money. Felix Hufeld, head of financial supervision Bafin, also fears that the Bitcoin boom will result in “excesses that produce bitter losers”.
Banks Restrict Transactions
This is why some banks intervene. JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America and Lloyds have recently stopped allowing their customers to buy bitcoins with their credit cards. By doing so, they want to protect consumers – but also themselves. The fear of banks that they will remain on debt is obviously too great if the prices for cryptocurrencies fall. Especially since credit cards in the United States and Great Britain work a little differently than in Germany: If the open amount is automatically debited from the current account every month in this country, customers in Anglo-Saxon countries can flexibly decide when and how much to repay. Unlike in Germany, in the USA and Great Britain, you can get real credit via the card and the banks have no interest in customers using it to gamble. And buying bitcoins is a gamble, as central bankers like Mario Draghi see it. Digital currencies should be classified as “very risky investments,” he said this week.
Especially since no one knows what will happen to the cryptocurrency. The few forecasts that are available differ widely. While the Danish Saxo Bank sees Bitcoin’s price rise to $ 100,000 this year, Goldman Sachs warns that some cryptocurrencies could fall to zero. Oliver Flaskämper, who has been dealing with bitcoins for years and operates Germany’s only marketplace for cryptocurrencies Bitcoin.de, therefore does not even venture a forecast. “I could also predict the lottery numbers there,” he says.
The power consumption for the production of bitcoins is high
It will also depend on politics on how Bitcoin and Co. develop. Governments and regulators worldwide are currently dealing with the question of how to control cryptocurrencies. Agustin Carstens, Director General of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), believes this is imperative. By the latter, he means the enormous energy that has to be spent to create bitcoins on high-performance computers. The electricity consumption for the production of the cryptocurrencies already corresponds to the consumption of the state of Singapore, Carstens calculates.
In Germany, the Bitcoin regulation even appears in the coalition agreement between the Union and the SPD: One wants to work for an “appropriate legal framework for trading cryptocurrencies and tokens at European and international level,” it says. At the request of Germany and France, a set of rules for cryptocurrencies could even become an issue at the meeting of the G20 finance ministers in March. The two countries propose to commission international expert bodies such as the FSB, which is responsible for financial stability issues, with a report. In addition, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must be considered. But that also shows: What regulation of cryptocurrencies should look like is still open. Especially since this runs counter to the ideas of their inventors who want free currencies,
South Korea and China have banned bitcoin trading
China and South Korea, which completely ban bitcoin trading, are already going particularly far. Exchanges on which Bitcoin and Co. are traded must close. China has also banned the creation of new bitcoins. Digital currencies are generated on high-performance computers – this is not possible without access to the power grid, which China is now refusing.
Worldwide, however, a complete ban on cryptocurrencies is hardly enforceable, according to exchange operator Flaskämper. He compares this to gold: in history, too, people have always wanted to ban precious metals. But you couldn’t keep it up. In his view, a ban would not mean the end of cryptocurrencies – trading with them would only migrate to the so-called darknet. Governments could have no interest in that either.