Fianna Fáil Science and Technology Spokesperson James Lawless TD has said the Department of Finance must fast-track a planned report to assess the impact of new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, on society.

The Department of Finance previously indicated that such a report will be delivered in Q3 of 2018. Deputy Lawless says the report needs to be fast-tracked considering the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies in recent days.

Deputy Lawless said, “In the past number of years we have seen a growing trend in individuals investing in e-money and virtual currencies. These currencies are often highly volatile and have major fluctuations in value for the investor, particularly in recent months. The highs and lows in these currencies may lead to unsustainable and artificially high valuations.

“The Government need to be on top of this, as investment in these online currencies grows, to negate any potential fall out of online currencies crashing. This poses a risk to market stability. Just this week the value of Bitcoin fell dramatically, with its value falling by 50% compared to mid-December. Meanwhile the Government could only look on with no central authority or person in charge.

“I was disappointed to learn that the Anti-Money Laundering Committee, chaired by the Department of Finance, is due to publish their report on e-money and virtual currencies by Q3 of 2018. The deadline for the publication of this report is not ambitious enough and must be brought forward,“ concluded Deputy Lawless.