Among virtual currencies (mediums of exchange used by Internet communities) Bitcoin is the most well-known. There has so far been little use of virtual currencies to make payments in Finland.
The Bank of Finland monitors developments in the use of virtual currencies as mediums of exchange, as well as the impact of these instruments on the payment system and financial system in general. Currently, Bitcoin does not affect financial stability. Use of Bitcoin does, however, involve risks for the user, and its value vis-a-vis official currencies has fluctuated significantly.
Bitcoin does not fulfil the criteria for an official currency, or indeed the criteria for a payment
instrument as referred to in the Payment Services Act. It is not issued by any authority, and its use in payment relies on a bilateral agreement between payer and payee. The value of a virtual currency is based on supply and demand only. Authorities or other public bodies are not responsible for the purchasing power or stability of Bitcoin, and it can lose its value. The use of Bitcoin is not currently supervised or regulated in any way.
For further information, please contact
Päivi Heikkinen, Head of Division, tel. +358 10 831 2137.