Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Bitcoin exchange reaches deal with Barclays for UK transactions

LONDON (Reuters) – One of the biggest bitcoin exchanges has struck a rare deal which will allow it to open a bank account with Britain’s Barclays, making it easier for UK customers of the exchange to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, the UK boss of the exchange said on Wednesday.

Workers are seen in at Barclays bank offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, November 17, 2017. Picture taken November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Large global banks have been reluctant to do business with companies that handle bitcoin and other digital coins because of concerns they are used by criminals to launder money and that regulators will soon crack down on them.

San Francisco-based exchange, Coinbase, said its UK subsidiary was the first to be granted an e-money license by the UK’s financial watchdog, a precursor to getting the banking relationship with Barclays.

The Barclays account will make it easier for British customers. Previously, they had to transfer pounds into euros and go through an Estonian bank.

“Having domestic GBP payments with Barclays reduces the cost, improves the customer experience…and makes the transaction faster,” said Zeeshan Feroz, Coinbase’s UK CEO.

The UK is the largest market for Coinbase in Europe, and the exchange said its customer base in the region was growing at twice the rate of elsewhere.

A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration

Feroz said that it took considerable time to get a UK bank on board, partly because Barclays needed to be sure that Coinbase had the right systems in place to prevent money laundering.

Regulators across the globe have warned that cryptocurrencies are used by criminals to launder money, and some exchanges have been shut down.

“It’s a completely brand new industry. There’s a lot of understanding and risk management that’s needed,” Feroz said.

Despite growing interest in both digital currencies and the technology behind them, some big lenders have limited their customers ability to buy cryptocurrencies, fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay debts.

In February, British banks Lloyds and Virgin Money said they would ban credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies, following the lead of JP Morgan and Citigroup. [nL8N1PU10Y]

Coinbase said it had also become the first crypto exchange to use Britain’s Faster Payments Scheme, a network used by the traditional financial industry.

Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Emma Rumney; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

Microsoft women filed 238 discrimination and harassment complaints

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Women at Microsoft Corp working in U.S.-based technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, according to court filings made public on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft logo is shown on the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo – RC177D20CF10

The figure was cited by plaintiffs suing Microsoft for systematically denying pay raises or promotions to women at the world’s largest software company. Microsoft denies it had any such policy.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are pushing to proceed as a class action lawsuit, which could cover more than 8,000 women.

More details about Microsoft’s human resources practices were made public on Monday in legal filings submitted as part of that process.

The two sides are exchanging documents ahead of trial, which has not been scheduled.

Out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women at Microsoft, only one was deemed“founded” by the company, according to the unsealed court filings.

Attorneys for the women described the number of complaints as“shocking” in the court filings, and said the response by Microsoft’s investigations team was“lackluster.”

Companies generally keep information about internal discrimination complaints private, making it unclear how the number of complaints at Microsoft compares to those at its competitors.

In a statement on Tuesday, Microsoft said it had a robust system to investigate concerns raised by its employees, and that it wanted them to speak up.

Microsoft budgets more than $55 million a year to promote diversity and inclusion, it said in court filings. The company had about 74,000 U.S. employees at the end of 2017.

Microsoft said the plaintiffs cannot cite one example of a pay or promotion problem in which Microsoft’s investigations team should have found a violation of company policy but did not.

U.S. District Judge James Robart has not yet ruled on the plaintiffs’ request for class action status.

A Reuters review of federal lawsuits filed between 2006 and 2016 revealed hundreds containing sexual harassment allegations where companies used common civil litigation tactics to keep potentially damning information under wraps.

Microsoft had argued that the number of womens’ human resources complaints should be secret because publicizing the outcomes could deter employees from reporting future abuses.

A court-appointed official found that scenario“far too remote a competitive or business harm” to justify keeping the information sealed.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Additional reporting by Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Bill Rigby, Edwina Gibbs and Bernadette Baum

U.S. wants judge to exclude key AT&T argument in Time Warner merger trial

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department wants a judge to bar AT&T Inc (T.N) from using a voluntary commitment it made on licensing content as part of its defense when an antitrust trial begins next week over the fate of the company’s planned $85 billion merger with Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), court documents show.

An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni – RC143F0BE390

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in November to stop AT&T, which owns DirecTV and other products with 25 million subscribers, from buying movie and TV show maker Time Warner, which owns HBO and CNN, among many other channels. A trial is set to start on Monday.

The government argues the merger would hike pay TV subscribers bills by $0.45 a month, citing an expert analysis.

AT&T contends that analysis is fatally flawed because it does not include its commitment for seven years to agree to binding arbitration over disputes with distributors like DISH Network Corp (DISH.O) or Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) over licensing terms.

The commitment, AT&T and Time Warner said in a legal filing released on Tuesday,“is a concrete assurance that this merger has never been about raising the price of Turner content.”

Time Warner’s Turner owns CNN, TBS, TNT and other networks that air news, sports and other programming. Last year, the government demanded AT&T agree to divest Turner as one offer to approve the merger.

The Justice Department said in a separate filing that the AT&T commitment was a“unilateral promise” that was not relevant to whether the transaction lessens competition. The government argues including the issue would“waste the court’s limited time and confuse the proceedings.”

AT&T asked U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to reject the request. John Stankey, the head of AT&T’s entertainment group who is set to head the combined company’s media business, said in a deposition that the company would not withdraw the commitment.

Leon is holding a closed-door pretrial conference with lawyers for both sides on Tuesday.

If Leon finds the transaction would harm competition, he could consider the commitment when he considers remedies, the Justice Department said.

The government’s analysis assumed the combined AT&T Time Warner would have“bargaining leverage” that it could use to compel distributors to pay higher prices for Turner networks, citing a model by an economist, AT&T said.

The Justice Department said 20 of 1,000 distributors had agreed to the arbitration offer made in November. AT&T said it modeled the commitment on a provision of the terms of the Comcast acquisition of NBCUniversal.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Toys 'R' Us Liquidation News Will Be Transient For Toy Makers

By Valuentum analysts

Image Source: Hasbro

There’s nothing like the announcement of a customer’s possible liquidation to send shares of suppliers tumbling. That’s what happened when Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it may have to cease operations as nobody appears to be coming to the rescue. Hasbro (HAS), Mattel (MAT), and JAKKS Pacific (JAKK) may feel some near-term operational discomfort, but we’re not overreacting.

If a rescue deal doesn’t happen for Toys ‘R’ Us, online verticals and big box retailers such as Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) may easily fill the void. Target CEO Brian Cornell noted, in particular, that his company is “playing to win in toys.” Though we’re viewing the Toys ‘R’ Us announcement as more ‘headline noise’ than anything that may impact the toy makers over the long haul, readers may expect forward near-term guidance to now have a more cautious bent, and that may disappoint some investors.

Rumors of a deal between Hasbro and Mattel haven’t let up from what we can tell, and we think the Toys ‘R’ Us possible liquidation could grease the wheels for further talks, as anti-trust interference may not be that fierce given end market troubles and concentrated online distributor power through the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY). We continue to like Hasbro the most out of the toy makers, but we caution management against the temptation to overpay for Mattel’s assets, as the Barbie franchise could very well be in terminal decline, given Disney’s (DIS) Frozen success. We also like that Hasbro continues to pull a variety of levers, the latest an agreement with Netflix (NFLX) to create toys and games from the Super Monsters animated kids series. This follows the Hasbro-Netflix’s joint effort to bring a collection of games to Stranger Things fans.

We wrote about Hasbro’s fourth-quarter report, released February 7, and at the time, we highlighted that management had pointed “to slower consumer demand for both the company and its industry in November and December,” but we also said that we think management is confident that its innovative lines and digital initiatives will deliver in 2018. What we’re watching closely at Hasbro is the long-term trajectory of its ‘Entertainment and Licensing’ business line, where on a full-year basis, operating profit in the segment nearly doubled, to $96.4 million on just ~8% revenue expansion (the division posted a near-34% operating margin). This segment may hold the keys to Hasbro’s future, but even so, Hasbro was able to still drive revenues nearly $1 billion higher during the past 5 years. Physical toy sales are under pressure, but by no means, dead.

Hasbro’s equity has advanced considerably during the past 5 years, and its 10%+ dividend increase, to a quarterly payout of $0.63, on February 7, means shares now have a forward yield of 2.8%. We’re not overreacting to the Toys ‘R’ Us announcement by any stretch, with our discounted cash-flow-derived fair value estimate of Hasbro hovering in the high-$80s at the time of this writing. For more information on our thoughts on Hasbro, in particular, and our assumptions behind our fair value estimate, please download Hasbro’s 16-page valuation report from Valuentum here (pdf).

Image: The first page of Valuentum’s 16-page report.

This article or report and any links within are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this article and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Assumptions, opinions, and estimates are based on our judgment as of the date of the article and are subject to change without notice.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Hasbro is included in Valuentum’s simulated Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio.

Editor’s Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

AT&T & Time Warner: Prepare For The Worst

When news broke that AT&T (T) was purchasing Time Warner (TWX) in a cash and stock deal valued at $107.50 for Time Warner holders I felt very confident that the move would improve AT&T’s profitability and widen its moat. AT&T was (and remains) one of my largest positions, so the news was welcome as I previewed the prospective ecosystem where premium original content and provider flowed seamlessly together permitting AT&T to leverage both as a compelling consumer package.

AT&T has a lucrative history marketing ‘bundle deals’ via DirecTV/U-verse, phone and internet. Adding Time Warner’s content to the mix was like adding another weapon to their arsenal. The move would fortify their position in an era where content is king and the average American residence has nearly 3 TVs per household.

With more and more customers embracing OTT services like Netflix (NFLX) and ditching cable, AT&T recognized the writing on the wall and (potentially) acquired Time Warner to help mitigate the impact and diversify them away from their reliance on legacy telecom services.

Perhaps it was not only adding a weapon to their arsenal but adding a shield to insulate them from the evolving landscape. I credit the management team led by CEO Randall Stephenson for their proactive approach getting ahead of the curve.

Obviously Time Warner’s stock popped immediately on the news while AT&T’s gyrated as investors digested the antitrust risks and whether or not AT&T overpaid.

Let’s take a look at those risks now.

Did AT&T Overpay?

The buyout offer did not come cheap ($85B) and some analysts groaned that while Time Warner was a nice asset, it came at too high a cost. But obtaining regulatory approval would be no walk in the park and AT&T knew they were in for protracted litigation. Let’s look at the EPS and Revenue numbers for the last two FYs for Time Warner:


You will note that on an EPS basis, Time Warner jumped about 9% year over year from $5.86 to $6.41. Time Warner grew EPS over 20% the year before that. When the $107.5 price tag was initially applied to the prior 4 quarters of earnings in October 2016, the P/E ratio stood at approximately 21.

That did look a bit steep.

However, the deal has not closed and when applying today’s earnings to the buyout price, the P/E ratio dips to 16.7. That looks much healthier. You have to tip your hat to AT&T’s management here since they had the prescience to realize that while the initial premium to Warner shareholders seemed lofty, it allowed them to garner unanimous approval from both boards by offering a rich enough premium to Warner holders while not seeming reckless to AT&T holders.

Stephenson and company knew earnings would continue to rise for the content king and before (IF) the deal closes, they will look like geniuses as earning would have grown into the multiple applied at the time of the offer.

Regulatory Risk

And that brings us to the elephant in the room: whether AT&T can out-litigate the DOJ in their pending antitrust case. President Trump has been vocal in his opposition to the buyout and may see it as fulfilling a campaign promise to defeat the deal. But Trump will not have the final word, it will be adjudicated in the courtroom not the political arena, however you would be naïve to believe that those worlds don’t intersect despite our system of checks and balances.

In the interim, AT&T has tried to curry favor with the Trump Administration by announcing bonuses to its employees and lauding the President for the tax bill. Nevertheless, the antitrust team is pushing ahead with bluster and bravado to paint the government as underdogs thwarting corporate strong-arming.

In November of last year I penned a post in the immediate aftermath of DOJ filing suit recommending purchasing shares of Time Warner during the turmoil called, “Time Warner: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose”. In just two days TWX share price plummeted from $95 to below $87. I quickly logged into my brokerage account to pick up shares of Time Warner in the $80’s.

In the post I explained why the volatility generated a perfect arbitrage opportunity, in summary:

This remains mostly true today, however Time Warner’s share price has since rebounded near $95 thereby shrinking some of the potential returns if the buyout is approved. While I have contacts within the antitrust division of the DOJ from my Washington days, they are not at liberty to speak about the case and therefore I know only as much as the public announcements trickling out on a daily basis.

And it is my opinion that the deal looks less likely to succeed now than it did 4 months ago when I wrote that post. But that reminds me of a saying by Clive Davis:


Prepare To Take Action:

During the previous dip, I was on vacation with my wife refilling the gas tank when I checked the market news to find out that Time Warner was selling off. We waited at that pit stop probably longer than she preferred so I could buy shares since I knew that the dip was an overreaction and would not last.

This time, I am planning ahead by placing limit buy orders at $85 and below that are good-til-cancelled in the scenario where the DOJ wins and/or impactful news hits the stock causing a knee-jerk reaction. In essence the hypothetical case looks like this:


In the portion of the chart above circled, you will see a red candlestick where news adversely impacted a stock sending it cascading into free-fall. But you will also notice the rapid rebound where the stock recovered quickly above that price.

The window to pounce and take advantage of the dip was small. That is why I am preparing to maximize the opportunity if it presents itself again. I believe that owning Time Warner shares at $85 and below provides a margin of safety if the two parties are forced to go their separate ways.

Time Warner Flying Solo?

Will I be saddled with overvalued shares of Time Warner purchased at $85? I doubt it. Here’s why:

Growth for Time Warner shows no signs of abatement as each operating division increased revenue and profits in the latest quarter (yet again). HBO’s subscription revenues increased 11% and its unparalleled show Game of Thrones is not due back until 2019. I expect an even larger increase in the months building up to the premiere.

Additionally, on the heels (pun intended) of Wonder Woman’s success, and in the backdrop of the #metoo movement, I believe Warner Bros. has incentive to continue to produce content with powerful heroines. HBO produced an amazing women focused hit with Big Little Lies and it’s due back for a second season featuring Meryl Streep. HBO made a savvy move by riding the coattails of Reese Witherspoon’s success.

On the cable news front, CNN was rated the #1 network in primetime and total day viewership among young adults and tops in digital news as well (from their 4Q earnings release). Whether you believe the treatment of the Trump Administration is favorable or not, it has been favorable to the bottom line of CNN.

And those are just a few samples of the many reasons why I remain bullish on Time Warner.

No one knows for certain how the trial will shake out, but I am positioning myself for success no matter the outcome.

Disclosure: I am/we are long T, TWX.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Elon Musk Just Revealed the Real Reason Why He Does What He Does (and It's an Inspiring Lesson For All Leaders)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Are you obsessed with money?

Do you dream about all the things you’d do if you had far too much of it?

Do you see people driving in Ferraris and, um, Teslas and say to yourself: “Soon, that’ll be me and I’ll have a personalized license plate. How about Great1?”

Stop, would you?

Just stop and think about how vacuous you’re sounding.

And once you’ve stopped, have a good listen to Elon Musk.

On Saturday, he wafted into a SXSW panel, sat himself down, stood up again and explained why he did apparently demented things such as send Roadsters into outer space.

He began:

There are a lot of terrible things happening all over the world, all the time. There are lots of problems that need to get solved. There’s lots of things that are miserable and kind of get you down.

There are so many. How much time do you have? I want to tell you some of the things that get me down. And the people, too. Especially the people who say they’re making the world a better place by solving some (very minor) problem, when you know they just want to cash out with a fortune.

Wait, let’s listen to Musk first.

But life cannot just be about solving one miserable thing after another. That can’t be the only thing. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That’s why we did this.

It often boggles my mind to the point of pickling how some people will do anything — steal, copy, act duplicitously, even machinate to make another person look terrible — just so that they can tell themselves they’ve won.

Instead, why not believe that a genuine lifting of the spirits, an attempt to inspire rather than mechanically gouge cash from the unsuspecting or dim, contributes far more to the world and to your sense of self-worth?

Cut to Musk again:

This guy called Tsiolkovsky, one of the early Russian rocket scientists, had a great saying. Birth is the cradle of humanity, but you cannot stay in the cradle forever. 

The cradle in which too many people stay is the cradle of money-making for the sake of money-making. 

To have more is somehow better. To have less is to be derided. To not be a member of a country club is truly shameful.

And to create an app that solves the problem of running out of milk, selling it for tens of millions and then appearing at tech conferences for the rest of your life is the Holy Grail.

As opposed to the Wholly Gray.

Musk wants to go beyond the cradle and foster a star-faring civilization.

Isn’t that a purpose with a slightly higher level of ambition that, oh Lordy, being a billionaire who solved an alleged problem?

What should your purpose be, once you leave the cradle? 

Please don’t tell me you want to buy a boat, so that you can show off to your friends.

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New German minister to challenge Google and Facebook's presentation of news

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s incoming minister with responsibility for digital policy says she will push social media giants to make users’ information feeds more diverse and timely to avoid creating “echo chambers” for the like-minded.

Companies such as Facebook have come under pressure from regulators around the world as evidence has emerged of how the recirculation of a particular selection of news and views on their platforms can narrow perceptions of the world and voter behavior.

The minister, Dorothee Baer, said she would open talks with Facebook and Google on the way that posts on social media platforms were sequenced.

“At the moment, the algorithms sort according to relevance or popularity,” she told the newspaper Die Welt in an interview published on Saturday. “That pushes to the top old posts that often have little to do with the truth.

“I want to see real-time timelines again that confront people not with what they want to know, but what they need to know, what is happening at this moment.”

The shock victories of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. elections and of the “leave” camp in Britain’s referendum on European Union membership have led to widespread concern that ‘social media bubbles’ make it impossible to discern what voters are reading and whether it is true or not.

In Germany, where the experience of living under two different totalitarian regimes in the 20th century has created enormous concern at the privacy implications of social media, platform usage is lower, but growing.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Kevin Liffey

Broadcom Shares Surge on Reports that Intel is Considering an Acquisition

Shares of semiconductor company Broadcom surged following a report on Friday that Intel is considering an acquisition.

Broadcom’s stock rose 4% in after-hours trading on Friday to $264.21 after the Wall Street Journal reported of Intel’s interest in acquiring Broadcom, which engaged in a hostile takeover attempt of mobile chip maker Qualcomm.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel (intc) was pondering an acquisition of Broadcom as one of a number of possible deals to help Intel remain competitive if and when Broadcom (broad) buys Qualcomm (qcom). A combination of Qualcomm and Broadcom would pose a significant threat to Intel.

Intel, which makes semiconductors for data center servers and personal computers, is the larger of the three companies and has a $244.2 billion market capitalization. Broadcom, which makes wireless and mobile computer chips, has a market value of $109.5 billion, while Qualcomm is valued at $93.3 billion.

For the past few months, Qualcomm has been trying to fend off Broadcom’s unsolicited advances and has rejected multiple Broadcom bids, the most recent being for $121 billion, or $82 a share. Qualcomm has said that each of Broadcom’s bids undervalues it and has also cited regulatory concerns.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment was reported to be considering an investigation of a potential Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm, which prompted Qualcomm to a shareholder meeting until April. While Broadcom is incorporated in Singapore and also operates a co-headquarters in San Jose, Calif., the semiconductor giants plans to reincorporate in the U.S.

Intel shares were relatively flat in after-hours trading on Friday at $51.90.

Intel has acquired a handful of companies over the past few years like chip maker Altera for $16.7 billion and automotive component and sensor provider Mobileye for roughly $15 billion, but a possible acquisition of Broadcom would dwarf those deals.

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Fortune contacted Intel and Broadcom for comment and will update this story if it responds.

The Number One Cause Of Business Failure

Bad leadership destroy engagement, raises stress levels, reduces morale and ultimately it leads to failures that can kill businesses.

Today I was reminded of just how true and how bad this can be when I was speaking to my good friend Dave. I was casually asking him how his job was going, and how things were working out with his new boss.

His response stunned me.

He said “I quit”.

I said “What? But you loved that job”.

He said “Yes I did, but the new boss has just sucked the life out of the place. Nothing we do is good enough, she shouts at people in the office for nor reasons, she’s intolerable in meeting and constant places impossible demands on the entire team and I just can’t put up with any more of her BS. Although it pays well, it’s not enough to put up with that day in day out. Life’s too short”.

Now Dave is an easy going character, he does great work and is a pleasure to have on your team, and he is not one of life’s complainers so I knew it must be bad if he had decided to quit, so I started to dig a little deeper.

It turns out that nearly 50 percent of the department had decided to leave, including one entire team of five people, and they were all leaving for the same reason,  they hated the new boss.

In just a little under two months the she had created such a toxic atmosphere that morale was so bad everyone was looking towards the exits.

Engagement had dropped and productivity had fallen through the floor.

You would think that with these kinds of results Senior Management would be stepping in to find out what was happening. 

But no they just left the boss to get on with single-handedly killing one of the most important projects the company had for 2018.

Now I consult with a lot of companies, looking to help turn round failing projects, or underperforming departments, and usually when I am brought in they tell me the challenges are due to complexity, the deadlines, or the poor quality of the teams.

But in reality 95 percent of the time the issues can be traced back to one of three things bad leadership, an absence of leadership or too much leadership.

Things rarely fail because of technology or natural complexity.

No, they fail because the teams are not engaged, inspired or empowered.

Teams need clear guidance, clear plans and the support of their leaders.

In my experience if teams get those three things invariably they will be successful.

Buf unfortunately that’s not as common as it should be.

Too many people with the wrongs skill get promoted. Yes they may be technically gifted, they may be incredibly smart, but that doesn’t make them good leaders.

Leadership is all about taking care of the people, and putting them in a position where they can be successful and then applauding as they achieve the desired success.

It truly is as simple as that.

Cryptocurrencies are risky for consumers, says BoE's Haldane

LONDON (Reuters) – Cryptocurrencies pose a risk to British consumers, though not to the financial system as a whole, the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration/File Photo

“There’s lots of potential risks there, one of which is the danger to the consumer from buying into this stuff,” Haldane said in a BBC television interview.

Bitcoin BTC=, the best known cryptocurrency, soared in value from around $1,000 at the start of 2017 to almost $20,000 in mid-December, before tumbling below $6,000 last month and then staging a partial recovery.

Haldane’s concerns are similar to those expressed by BoE Governor Mark Carney in a speech on Friday, and previously by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Many global regulators have warned about cryptocurrencies this year and China has banned financial institutions from processing them. Carney said this would be a step too far, given the potential of the underlying technology to improve payments and asset clearing and settlement.

Haldane said the BoE continued to monitor cryptocurrencies, and that at less than 1 percent of total global wealth, they did not pose a big danger to the world’s financial system.

But asked if he would invest in cryptocurrencies himself, Haldane said he was very risk averse, and would not.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by James Dalgleish