Last week, in his discussions with the House of Representatives in the Netherlands, Dutch Finance Minister, Wopke Hoekstra said, “Our thoughts converge on an attractive idea: Cryptocurrency. Still, we must proceed with caution and in the meantime, banning it remains an option.”
To the Right, But Not Too Far to The Right
In contradiction to its pro position on cryptocurrency, Holland still shows signs of nervousness.
“Parties in the House of Representatives are demanding measures against cryptocurrency, but also against other controversial financial products and assets.”
Hoekstra has said that the country is planning on moving forward with investigating possibilities and performing market tests. The results of which will be passed on to the Tweede Kramer, the lower house of Parliament in the Netherlands, to decide on the future of cryptocurrency in the country. Hoekstra has often warned about Bitcoin, saying “Think carefully, before taking the plunge.”
The Finance Minister also expressed the government’s willingness to ban Bitcoin’s financial derivatives such as binary options. These give consumers the ability to bet on the rise and fall of cryptocurrency prices and earn the difference between the buying and selling price or they lose their money. This is rather surprising since the country has previously been open to the idea of cryptocurrency.
The Winds of Blockchain’s Winter
The Dutch regulatory agency, the AFM, and the Dutch national bank, the DNB (De Nederlandsche Bank) have expressed their concerns about the growing popularity of binary options. The AFM has estimated that 74%-89% of consumers have lost their funds.
In 2017, there were about 135,000 people who committed funds to binary options, which is double from the previous year. The AFM predicts that 2018 could see as many as 150,000 consumers buying these financial products.
Despite its concerns about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the AFM still doesn’t have all that many options since cryptocurrency is not exactly a financial product. On the other hand, ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), which are considered fundraisers, are financial products and it is these that the country wants to regulate. Now, the Netherlands, and Europe in general, do not have any clear regulations for this sort of operation.
France and Germany have also launched their own debates on whether to regulate cryptocurrency or to ban it. Both countries are planning on bringing up the discussion at the next G20 summit, which is scheduled later this year in March.
Wopke Hoekstra has said that he will wait to see what happens at the summit before making any final decisions on the topic.