(Updates with quotes on financial stability impact)
By Marja Novak
LJUBLJANA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The Bank of Slovenia told citizens on Thursday that virtual currencies are not a digital replacement for banknotes and coins and are not regulated, and large investments in those currencies could have an impact on financial stability.
“For now there is no impact on the financial stability but in the future that could happen, depending on the size of invstments,” Simon Anko, director of payment systems at the central bank, told reporters.
“According to our definition virtual currencies are not currencies,” he added, echoing the opinion of the European Central Bank according to which virtual currencies are not currencies but rather “means of exchange”.
“People should not invest in things they do not know about,” he added, advising that citizens should not take loans in order to invest in virtual currencies.
The central bank said that those that are offering purchasing, depositing or trading with virtual currencies in Slovenia are not systemically regulated and supervised.
It advised citizens to inform themselves about virtual currencies before buying them and to be aware of the fact that they could lose the means they invest in those currencies.
The bank gave no details on the size of Slovenians’ investments in virtual currencies.
In December, a Slovenian cryptocurrency mining marketplace, NiceHash, lost about $64 million worth of bitcoin in a hack on its payment system. (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Toby Chopra and Angus MacSwan)