Earlier this year, Christine Lagarde, who has just been nominated to replace Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank (ECB), warned that cryptocurrencies are “shaking the system”—something that could signal a change in the ECB’s approach to bitcoin and crypto and potentially spur adoption.
“I think the role of the disruptors and anything that is using distributed ledger technology, whether you call it crypto, assets, currencies, or whatever … that is clearly shaking the system,” the 63-year-old Lagarde told CNBC in April.
“We don’t want to shake the system so much that we would lose the stability that is needed,” she added.
Those comments earlier this year follow an interview with Lagarde in 2017 where she warned the power of cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology should not be dismissed.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community has largely welcomed Lagarde’s nomination to the top job at the ECB, with some expecting her openness to crypto to be “good for the industry.”
“Several people have pointed out to me already is that the next ECB boss is incredibly crypto friendly,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro wrote in a note to clients this week. “Indeed, Christine Lagarde who is set to replace Mario Draghi on 1 November is extremely pro digital assets.”
“Not bitcoin, of course, but she has advocated already for state-backed cryptocurrencies as well as settlement tokens like XRP and JPM coin. We can expect that someone so crypto friendly in such a position will be good for the industry as a whole.”
Lagarde appears to have a different opinion of bitcoin and crypto to that of out ECB president Mario Draghi, who earlier this year said cryptocurrencies are not currencies, but “highly risky” assets, distancing the ECB and other central banks from crypto experimentation and the responsibility of regulating cryptocurrencies.
Elsewhere, Lagarde’s background as a politician has caused some to predict she will take a radically different approach to running the ECB than that of her predecessors, all of whom have been traditionally trained economists over the ECB’s 21-year history.
As the likes of social media giant Facebook and Wall Street banks including J.P. Morgan get stuck into bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it will become more difficult for institutions like the ECB to sideline them—and Lagarde might find bitcoin and crypto requires more of her attention than she expects.