In comments on crypto assets as part of its Global Financial Stability Report, the organization continued its recent stance in promoting international agreements on regulation. The report continues, “…they could [pose a risk] should their use become more widespread without the appropriate safeguards.”
The tone is bullish against the titular theme of “a bumpy road ahead” for world finance, and does not discount the potential for cryptocurrency to “transform financial activity.” The report states:
“It is impossible to know the extent to which crypto assets may transform the financial infrastructure and whether most new crypto assets are likely to disappear as in past episodes of technological innovation (as many tech companies did during the boom of the late 1990s, for example). Before they can transform financial activity in a meaningful and lasting manner, crypto assets will first need to earn the confidence and support of consumers and financial authorities.”
The report adds that, in order to gain this confidence, there will need to be a consensus among the global regulatory community about what crypto assets are; a security or a currency.
The IMF thus follows in the footsteps of other financial institutions this year, notably the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The head of the FSB, Bank of England governor Mark Carney, told the G20 in March that crypto assets “do not pose risks” to the world’s economy.
Meanwhile, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has similarly adopted a weighted stance on crypto, acknowledging its “benefits” while simultaneously warning about illicit uses which require attention. “A judicious look at crypto-assets should lead us to neither crypto-condemnation nor crypto-euphoria,” she wrote in an official blog post last month.