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‘If a government bans drugs, it should also ban crypto’ — Belgium’s former finance minister

Johan Van Overtveldt, a member of the European Parliament and the former Minister of Finance of Belgium, has called for a “strict ban” on crypto as a result of the current banking crisis.

In a March 17 tweet, Overtveldt suggested lawmakers should consider banning cryptocurrencies as a “lesson” from the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank in the United States, referring to digital assets as “speculative poison.” Members of the European Parliament have been discussing the impact of the failure of these banks on markets in its jurisdiction.

“If a government bans drugs, it should also ban cryptos,” said Overtveldt.

A finance minister of Belgium from 2014 to 2018, Overtveldt became a European Parliament member in 2019 and part of its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. In October 2022, the committee approved the Markets in Crypto-Assets, or MiCA, framework, expected to go into effect starting in 2024.

Related: The limitations of the EU’s new cryptocurrency regulations

As the impact of the banking crisis unfolds, many U.S. lawmakers have also claimed financial institutions’ ties to crypto firms were partly responsible for their collapse, starting with Silvergate’s voluntary liquidation on March 8. Silicon Valley Bank followed on March 10 amid a bank run, and New York regulators took control of Signature on March 12. SVB Financial Group has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.