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Japan’s Top Central Banker: BTC is 'Barely Used' for Settlements

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Japan’s Top Central Banker: BTC is 'Barely Used' for Settlements

In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that the vast majority of BTC trading is “speculative and volatility is extraordinarily high.” 

Recent price movements add weight to Kuroda’s claim. BTC has fallen by 8% in the past day to $36,187 and by 11.31% in the past week, according to data from Nomics

Much of the crash from all-time highs of about $64,000 in April was triggered by a single tweet from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who said on May 12 that his electric car company would no longer accept BTC as payments, citing environmental concerns. 

The rest of the damage came from China, when three national payments associations warned against speculative BTC trading early last week. A few days later, the country’s financial committee, overseen by the State Council, added BTC mining to a laundry list of financial risks that it would monitor. This was the first time such a high-ranking office spoke out on the sector.

After citing its volatility, Kuroda dismissed BTC as “barely used as a means of settlement.”

BTC advocates have long given up hopes of BTC becoming a means of payment settlement—either for buying everyday goods and services, or for financial institutions settling cross-border trades. BTC is too expensive and slow to be convenient.

Instead, BTC proponents regard the leading crypto as a store of value, much like gold. Other coins, such as XRP, Litecoin and BTC Cash are designed with payments in mind; lower fees and quicker settlement times make them more attractive. 

Elon Musk: Lightning Can Solve BTC’s Scaling Problem

Kuroda’s final criticism against BTC is that it is backed by thin air. He contrasted BTC with stablecoins—cryptocurrencies pegged to a specific asset, often the U.S. dollar. Each USDC, for instance, is reportedly backed up by real dollars, and USDT (Tether) is backed up by 76% of cash and nebulous “cash equivalents.”  

Kuroda added that stablecoins need to adhere to regulatory standards to become a convenient means of payments. 

Japan is studying whether it should issue its own digital yen. Last month, it kicked off the first phase of a year-long study to determine whether a central bank digital currency is the right way to go. Most countries are doing the same, although only a few have issued them. Japan lags behind China, which is currently piloting its own digital yuan. 


All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.

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