Peer-to-peer lending boss and cryptocurrency backer Lee Birkett has come to the defence of Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey after he aired concerns on digital currencies.
Speaking at the City UK Annual Conference last month, Bailey said that while new forms of digital money present an important source of innovation, public interest must not be ignored and “tough love” is needed.
He has also previously told the Treasury committee of MPs that he is “sceptical” about cryptocurrencies because “they’re dangerous and there’s a huge enthusiasm out there”.
Birkett is founder of P2P lending platform JustUs and its sister company Moneybrain, which has its own cryptocurrency called BiPs.
He said that Bailey recognises that people could leave traditional banks in favour of digital currencies, which poses a threat to the banking system, so is therefore working on a digitalised central bank currency.
“Bailey’s been an honest supporter of digital currency, what he doesn’t like is the anonymous crypto side of it,” Birkett said.
“Crypto has many uses if operated by good actors, he’s just wary there’s a lot of bad actors but there are more bad actors in the banking system than the world of crypto I can assure you.
“It’s because cash can be dirty with money laundering. The percentage of this in cash is far bigger than that of crypto.
“Bailey’s rightly saying there’s a huge risk to the economic system, but this is not going away, and the Bank of England needs to step in and have its own currency.
“Digital money is the same as Blockbusters being replaced by streaming services. Those are elements of life completely getting transformed, it’s a better experience for customers, delivering a better value and outcome for them. It’s massively positive for P2P.
“P2P and crypto are the future of banking.”