The price of bitcoin rose during morning trading March 21, only to trade down later in the day, after global regulators made no concrete move toward setting rules for cryptocurrencies at a summit in Argentina.
Finance ministers and central bankers who gathered for the Group of 20 economic summit said after a two-day meeting that they would call for the Financial Stability Board to consult with international standard-setting bodies on cryptocurrencies and report back in July. A fear among some cryptocurrency investors that more immediate action would follow the meeting did not materialize.
The standard-setting bodies were called to monitor cryptocurrency risks and "assess multilateral responses as needed," according to the finance ministers' statement.
The price of bitcoin rose 6.11% to $9,049.48 as of 12:00 p.m. ET on March 21, up from $8,528.54 a day earlier, according to CoinDesk. As of 2:23 p.m. ET, bitcoin had traded down to about $8,800. It had dropped as low as $7,345.46 on March 18, from a near-$20,000 high in December 2017, after authorities in South Korea and China moved to crack down on exchanges and currency mining and some officials called for stricter regulations for virtual currencies.
Regulators around the world are grappling with the issues raised by the rise of cryptocurrencies, which the G-20 ministers said include consumer and investor protection, market integrity, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.
Their statement referred to cryptocurrencies as "crypto-assets," indicating that the organization views digital tokens as assets rather than currencies. While they said technology does have the "potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system," crypto-assets lack "key attributes of sovereign currencies."
In a letter sent to the G-20 finance ministers before the summit meeting, FSB Chairman Mark Carney stressed that cryptocurrencies do not represent a threat to global financial stability.
The world leaders appeared to have a similar perspective, writing that cryptocurrencies could have financial stability implications "at some point."