IMF Urges Banks To Invest In Crypto

A June 2017 staff discussion note from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that banks should consider investing in cryptocurrencies more seriously than they have in the past. According to the IMF staff team responsible for the note, including prominent economists such as Dong He, Ross Leckow, and Vikram Haksar, “rapid advances in digital technology are transforming the financial services landscape.” These members of the IMF feel that such transformations generate new opportunities for consumers as well as service providers and regulators. The ultimate message of the report seems to be one of support for cryptocurrencies, as it outlines some of the ways that the fintech industry might be able to provide solutions for consumers related to trust, security, financial services, and privacy in this area.

Boundaries are Blurring
One of the key findings of the IMF report is that “boundaries are blurring.” This means that the borders between intermediaries, service providers, and markets, previously well-defined, have become blurry with the advent of new technology related to digital currencies and cross-border payments. Along with the blurring of these boundaries, the authors of the report suggest that “barriers to entry are changing.” This does not, however, mean that barriers to entry are universally being lowered. Rather, they are being lowered in some situations but raised for others, particularly “if the emergence of large closed networks reduces opportunities for competition.”

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