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IMF MD asks for global preparation for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)

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IMF’s Georgieva urges global readiness for CBDCs at Singapore FinTech Festival.
CBDCs are a potential cash replacement, enhancing resilience, and promoting financial inclusion.
IMF introduces CBDC handbook and acknowledges BIS’s role in global digital finance experiments.

In a compelling address at the Singapore FinTech Festival, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva urged nations to ready themselves for the eventual deployment of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Georgieva expressed optimism despite acknowledging that the widespread adoption of CBDCs is still on the horizon, with approximately 60% of countries currently exploring these digital currencies in some capacity.

CBDCs as a replacement for Cash

Georgieva underscored the potential of CBDCs to replace traditional cash, offering heightened resilience in advanced economies and fostering financial inclusion in underbanked communities. According to her, CBDCs can coexist with private money, as a secure and cost-effective alternative.

The IMF head emphasized the crucial role of technological infrastructure in CBDC projects, emphasizing personal data protection and considering the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance national digital currencies. She particularly stressed the importance of CBDCs being designed to facilitate cross-border payments, addressing the current issues of expense, slowness, and limited accessibility. 

Georgieva’s argument comes amid fears that CBDCs risk attracting money launderers and cyber criminals.

IMF’s CBDC virtual handbook and collaborative efforts with BIS

During the event, Kristalina Georgieva introduced the IMF’s CBDC virtual handbook, marking a milestone in the ongoing discourse around the global adoption of digital currencies. She also acknowledged the pivotal role of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in supporting the public sector’s experimentation with digital money.

In recent initiatives, the IMF has actively engaged in analysing necessary crypto regulations, presenting a crypto-risk assessment matrix (C-RAM) aimed at helping countries identify potential risks in the cryptocurrency sector.

The collaborative effort of the IMF and BIS, as exemplified in the Synthesis paper, was unanimously endorsed by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Communique in October, indicating growing global interest and commitment in shaping the future of digital finance.

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