European central bank report examines growth in virtual currencies

The ECB reports there are around 500 decentralized VCSs now, marking a dramatic increase over the previous report.

The ECB cited the following disadvantages for VSCs: lack of transparency, clarity and continuity; dependency on IT; anonymity of the actors involved; high volatility; and lack of safeguards to protect users against these risks. Participation in VCS exposes users not only to payment system risks, but other risks. Users are exposed to exchange rate risk, to counterparty risk related to the anonymity of the payee, and to investment fraud risk related to a lack of transparency.

However, the ECB also noted the following VCS advantages perceived by users that could challenge more traditional payment systems; costs, global reach, anonymity of the payer and speed of settlement.

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