The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies could undermine and pose severe consequences for the macro-financial stability of countries. The Bretton Woods organization stated in a presentation by its Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, during the International Conference on Digital Money held in Seoul, South Korea. 

Kristalina Georgieva stated that the rise in bitcoin prices since April, coupled with the widespread adoption in emerging economies like Nigeria and Brazil, is a testament that cryptocurrencies will endure into the future and one policymaker will have to deal with.  

She said, “For one, crypto assets are not going away. Bitcoin is trading at its highest value since April 2022.” Also, crypto asset adoption is high, especially in emerging market economies like India, Nigeria, and Vietnam, according to Chainalysis. 

The IMF boss warned further that another danger of the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency assets is the difficulty in policy transmission, as only a few people hold these currencies. Other dangers of crypto, as outlined in her speech, include difficulty in managing capital flow and undermining fiscal sustainability, as tax collection could be more challenging to enforce.  

The IMF Chief further called for adequate crypto industry regulation to check against money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion. She stated, “Clarify and consistently apply laws, standards, and regulations for anti-money laundering and financing terrorism. Establish clear tax rules. Provide a solid legal foundation with a clear classification of crypto assets.”  

She, however, sternly warned countries never to allow cryptocurrencies to become legal tender or official currencies and noted that consistent legislature, private sector infrastructure and policy collaboration could enable countries to reap the benefits of the innovation.  

The adoption of cryptocurrency is on the rise in Nigeria, driven by the challenges of a depreciating currency and escalating inflation in Africa’s largest economy, according to a report from New York-based blockchain research firm Chainalysis. Between July 2022 and June 2023, Nigeria experienced a 9% year-over-year increase in cryptocurrency transactions, reaching a total volume of $56.7 billion.

Tobi Reuben Adetunji
Tobi Reuben Adetunji
Tobi Reuben Adetunji, holds a Degree and Master Degree in Political Science from the prestigious, Obafemi Awolowo University, ile-ife Osun and University of Lagos Akoka, Lagos State respectively. His research interests revolve around; African Politics and Economy, Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, Renewable Energy and information Technology.

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