Swiss central bank president: "Buying Bitcoin is not a problem for us"
Asked to buy some Bitcoin, the president of the Swiss Nationalbank refused - for now. But technically it wouldn't be a problem, he said.
So the Swiss Nationalbank had its general assembly thingy the other day and Luzius Meisser, chairman of Bitcoin Suisse, used the opportunity to tell the central bankers to go buy some Bitcoin.
You know, just in case it catches on…
The answer SNB president Thomas Jordan gave was quite interesting.
“From the current perspective we do not believe bitcoin meets the requirements of currency reserves, that's why we have until now decided not to have bitcoin on our balance sheet.” (Reuters, emphasis added)
It’s not news that central banks don’t think of Bitcoin as a reserve asset. So naturally the news outlets are running with this part: “SNB says no to Bitcoin.”
But the second part of the answer was a lot more revealing.
Asked if the Nationalbank would at least prepare technically for a Bitcoin purchase, Jordan said this wasn’t necessary as they could already buy Bitcoin today if they wanted.
"Buying bitcoin is not a problem for us, we can do that either directly or can buy investment products which are based on bitcoin," Jordan said. "We can arrange the technical and operative conditions relatively quickly, when we are convinced we must have bitcoin in our balance sheet.” (Reuters, emphasis added)
Now, this was said in German and our language is a bit tricky here, as we don’t differentiate between “if” and “when”. Jordan said “wenn” which could mean both. Jordan also read this from a prepared statement and constantly said “Bitcoins” so there is that…
But it’s good to know that technically it wouldn’t be a problem. Note that Jordan seemingly doesn’t see any legal obsticle to buying Bitcoin.
He did however say that Bitcoin as of now is too volatile and not liquid enough for a large central bank to consider it a reserve asset. That’s understandable as it would certainly move the market quite a bit if the SNB would step in as a buyer.
Today the SNB already holds every asset under the sun, from stocks to currencies to gold. Their large Euro-holdings were singled out by Luzius Meisser as a potential source of trouble given the ECBs love affair with money printing.
You can watch the whole thing here, it’s quite a dry affair.
Sidenote: It’s not much talked about but the Swiss only gave up on the gold standard in 1999. (NYT)
Bitcoin is also pretty relevant to the Swiss “business model” as a whole.
Barack Obama talked about this six years ago.
“If in fact you can’t crack that all, if the government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss Bank account in their pocket.” (Barack Obama, source)
Anyway. This story will continue…
Luzius advised the SNB to put at least one billion Euros into Bitcoin straight away. If they didn’t he would be back next to tell them how much they lost holding Euro instead of Bitcoin, he said. 😅