The institution issued a note on Thursday warning against the use of this virtual currency.

Launched in 2009, bitcoin can be traded online for real money or used to purchase goods and services over the internet.  (JENS KALAENE / PICTURE ALLIANCE / AFP)

The Banque de France frankly does not like bitcoin, and wants to make it known. The institution published, Thursday, December 5, a note (PDF) warning against the use of this virtual currency, which is enjoying growing success. Francetv info lists the grievances of the Banque de France towards these funds of a new kind.

It would be “highly speculative”

Launched in 2009, bitcoin can be traded online for real money or used to purchase goods and services over the internet. A bitcoin cost less than $ 200 at the end of October, and more than $ 1,000 a month later.

What to make a currency with character “Highly speculative”, which represents a “Definite financial risk” for those who hold it, according to the note from the Banque de France. In addition to the volatility of its price, the institution notes that bitcoin is not backed by any real activity.

He wouldn’t be sure

“If the high volatility of bitcoin constitutes a possible interest for private or professional speculators, the latter must nevertheless be aware of the risks involved”, argues the Banque de France.

It thus highlights the fact that no authority guarantees the security of electronic safes used to store this currency, making its holder vulnerable to a computer attack. In addition, no organization ensures the convertibility of bitcoin and an investor may find it impossible to recover his stake in a currency that is legal tender.

Platforms that sell it should have authorization

The Banque de France finally has in its sights the platforms for which bitcoin is the livelihood. Indeed, the institution indicates that the conversion of bitcoin into a currency having legal tender must be analyzed as a payment service. As such, the platforms used for these operations should obtain the authorization of the service provider required to perform such services.

This sesame, issued by the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority, is notably accompanied by obligations in terms of the fight against money laundering. It also involves the monitoring of the operational security of the platforms by the Banque de France.

However, despite this surveillance, continues the Banque de France, the subsequent use of bitcoin to buy goods or services, possibly illegal, would still spiral out of control. “In this context, action by the police is necessary to stop these illicit activities”, claims the central bank.