IMF chief Christine Lagarde has said that central banks across the globe should consider issuing their own digital currency. The head of the International Monetary Fund was speaking at a conference in Singapore when she asserted that legacy institutions need to keep pace with emerging cryptocurrencies and related blockchain technologies or risk facing the consequences.
Having criticised the Marshall Islands’ plans for a national cryptocurrency earlier this week, it seems that state-issued digital currencies are a more palatable prospect when they’re implemented under the paternal guidance of the IMF itself.
In somewhat of a U-turn, the IMF chief was full of praise for the issuance of digital currency in an increasingly cashless world, whilst citing that central banks would still have a vital part to play;
“There may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy.”
As has been seen in China, India and to a certain extent the West too, the dilemma of digital currency isn’t its technical capacity or utility but rather its ability to challenge and undermine centralised concentrations of authority. The IMF chief appears to have decided that a can’t-beat-em’-join-em’ approach is the best way for said concentrations of authority to retain their influence, or as she puts it;
“The key is to harness the benefits while managing the risks”
Lagarde is clearly confident that legacy institutions (the IMF included) can have their cake and eat it too, adding;
“The advantage is clear. Your payment would be immediate, safe, cheap and potentially semi-anonymous… And central banks would retain a sure footing in payments.”
The IMF chief has made her position crisply clear; take full advantage of the revolutionary technology, being sure to remove any elements that might be considered revolutionary. And of course, in a telling caveat, Lagarde concluded that access to digital currency shouldn’t be “universal” and its use needs to be handled, “seriously, carefully and creatively”. Sounds like a job for the IMF…