Finland’s central bank has deemed bitcoin to be a commodity, following a determination that it does not meet the definition of a currency, or even an electronic payment method.
“Considering the definition of an official currency as set out in law, it’s not that. It’s also not a payment instrument, because the law stipulates that a payment instrument must have an issuer responsible for its operation,” said Paeivi Heikkinen, who heads the oversight division at the Bank of Finland. “At this stage it’s more comparable to a commodity.”
The news comes as an increasing number of central banks around the world issue warnings on the potential perils of getting involved with bitcoin — such as its tendency to be volatile and unbacked by a monetary authority.
Despite the central bank’s views, however, the Bank of Finland doesn’t seek to impose regulations on the use of bitcoin — at least for now. Heikkinen says that “If the phenomenon grows and begins to cause side effects, officials will then have to consider whether to regulate it and how.”
“The changes in value are totally unregulated and very vulnerable to news, speculation and hoaxes,” he said. “No one supervises or regulates it, no one guarantees it and its value has fluctuated hugely,” said Heikkinen. “It’s at your own risk.” (via Bloomberg)