The Swiss National Bank opposes holding bitcoin as a reserve currency

The logo of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is pictured on its building in Bern, Switzerland April 2, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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ZURICH, April 29 (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank opposes buying and holding bitcoin as a reserve currency, President Thomas Jordan said at the central bank’s annual general meeting on Friday.

“Buying bitcoin is not a problem for us, we can do it directly or buy bitcoin-based investment products,” Jordan said. “We can settle the technical and operational conditions relatively quickly, when we are convinced that we must have bitcoin on our balance sheet.

“But from the current perspective, we don’t believe bitcoin meets the foreign exchange reserve requirements, which is why we have so far decided not to have bitcoin on our balance sheet,” he added. .

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Anti-climate change activists demonstrated outside the meeting, which was held in Bern, demanding that the SNB end its investments in companies they believe contribute to global warming via carbon emissions.

“The Swiss National Bank invests billions in the fossil fuel industry every year,” said Nora Scheel of the Campax Group. “In doing so, it generates almost as much CO2 emissions as the whole of Switzerland generates on its territory.”

The SNB, which has 937 billion in foreign currency investments, has reduced its investments in energy and fossil companies from 10% of its holdings to around 3% to 4%, President Jordan said.

“It makes no sense for us to sell all our shares, they would just be bought by someone else. The important thing is that the economy can transform…to produce less CO2 emissions” , Jordan told the AGM.

“This should be done in a systematic and orderly way. We already see the problem of energy supply now, with rising energy prices causing problems, especially for low-income people.”

The SNB has already ruled out investing in companies primarily involved in coal mining, he added, but could not rule out oil and gas investments overnight.

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Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields

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Shawanda H. Saldana