December 19, 2017 / 2:09 AM / 3 months ago

Bitcoin not yet proven as credible currency - Japan finance minister

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that bitcoin has not been proven to be a credible currency and that he would watch its developments in the near-term.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso waits for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (not seen) before a bilateral meeting, during a G7 for Financial ministers, in the southern Italian city of Bari, Italy, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

He made the remark to reporters when asked about his French counterpart’s comment this week that France would propose a discussion on regulating the virtual currency at a meeting of G20 group of major economies next year.

“There’s no fixed definition on whether it’s a currency or not. This issue is a difficult one,” Aso said after a cabinet meeting.

“It has not yet been proven to be credible enough to become a currency, so I need to watch for a little while more.”

He added virtual currencies may be widely used in countries such as China but that they were less common in Japan, where hard currency is still preferred.

Bitcoin’s prices have risen more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year, triggering worries about a bubble.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Sam Holmes

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