• The Dutch Finance Minister rejects a government advisor’s recommendation to ban cryptocurrency

  • Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch finance minister, believes that a total prohibition, as proposed by economic advisor Pieter Hasekamp, is not the answer to worries about cryptocurrency.

    After a top Dutch economic advisor urged for outright prohibition, the Dutch finance minister, Wopke Hoekstra, warned on Friday that banning cryptocurrencies would solve nothing.

    Pieter Hasekamp, director of the government-affiliated Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, advocated for a “total prohibition on production, trade, and even possession of cryptocurrencies” in the Netherlands in an op-ed published in Het Financieele Dagblad on Friday.

    “Cryptocurrencies exhibit all of the characteristics of ‘bad money,’ including an ambiguous origin, an unknown valuation, and unscrupulous trade practices,” he argued. He contended that their anonymity makes them attractive to criminals, and that they are useless as money, failing to function as units of account, means of payment, and stores of value.

    Minister Hoekstra was aware of Hasekamp’s concerns concerning cryptocurrency. However, according to Hasekamp, a total prohibition, such as the one he recommended, would be less preferred to regulatory oversight than regulatory oversight, as reported by RTL’s sister newspaper on Friday.

    “In the Netherlands, my judgment currently is that that is more successful than a total ban,” he said.

    “Cautious regulation might also backfire: it legitimizes crypto as a bona fide financial product,” Hasekamp said in his op-ed, perhaps in anticipation. Recent events indicate that now is the time to act: the longer we wait, the more severe the consequences of the eventual crash will be.”

    In Dutch politics, Hasekamp has no power to make decisions. His agency is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and its director is selected by the minister, but its research is independent, and its recommendations are not legally binding.

    “Bitcoin is open source, it’s software that everyone can run,” Patrick van der Meijde, chairman of the Dutch crypto lobbying company Association of Bitcoin Companies, told Dutch media NOS on Friday. You are not permitted to enter this office.”

    However, the government has the legal authority to shut down offices that house cryptocurrency exchanges.

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