Virtual currencies may stay even if bubble is already deflating: ECB

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The market bubble of virtual currencies is already deflating but central banks should still pay attention as the innovation may be here to stay even if early market leaders die out, European Central Bank board member Yves Mersch said on Thursday.

“Virtual currencies are not money, nor will they be for the foreseeable future,” Mersch said in London. “Their market share is still small and their ties to the real economy are still limited.”

“But this can be subject to change. Regulators and legislators on all levels should therefore urgently pay close attention to mitigating the potential risks that could stem from growing virtual currency business,” Mersch added.

Mersch added that he saw no convincing motivation for the ECB to issue digital money, a subject under study by several central banks, as such an innovation is unnecessary for now with likely negative impacts on the financial system.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa