The largest international organizations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, have surprised the world by launching a private blockchain and a quasi-cryptocurrency. Called ‘Learning Coin’, the currency is aimed at researching blockchain to get a better understanding of the technologies that underlie crypto assets.
Currently, Learning Coin is only available within the walls of the IMF and the World Bank. As Financial Times reported, the currency will form ‘strong knowledge base of the technology’ and let the staff of both organizations deeper understand the blockchain-based goods, smart contracts, and transparency, as well as challenges that the technology faces and its risks such as money laundering and fraud.
The IMF said:
“The development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it. This is forcing central banks, regulators and financial institutions to recognize a growing knowledge gap between the legislators, policymakers, economists and the technology.”
It is notable that Learning Coin does not hold any monetary value. It will not basically work as Bitcoin. While testing the currency, the World Bank and IMF staff will earn coins for achieving certain educational milestones. The organizations will allow them to redeem the assets gained for some rewards, which will let them learn how coins can be used in real life.
What is more, if the test is successful, the World Bank and IMF might use blockchain to launch smart contracts, combat money laundering and enhance the overall level of transparency.
Christine Lagarde: Cryptos are Shaking the System
While the IMF is willing to explore cryptos, its managing director Christine Lagarde is skeptical about digital assets, which is quite a funny thing. As we have recently reported, Lagarde expressed a sharp criticism to cryptocurrencies last week.
Recently, ‘Money and Payments in the Digital Age’ discussion organized by the IMF took place. Representatives from central banks and tech startups shared their views on the impact that cryptos have on the economy. Christine Lagarde attended the meeting as well.
“I think the role of the disruptors and anything that is using distributed ledger technology, whether you call it crypto, assets, currencies, or whatever … that is clearly shaking the system. We don’t want innovation that would shake the system so much that we would lose the stability that is needed.”
At the same time, the IMF managing director stated she is open to innovation, especially due to the transparency, cost-saving, and efficiency that it presents. As for fintech companies that make their activity blockchain-oriented, they will have ‘to be held accountable so that they can be fully trusted.’
As for the World Bank, its official has also expressed a skeptical point of view. According to Aanchal Anand, a Land Administration Specialist in the bank’s Global Land and Geospatial Unit, there is too much hype over blockchain, which causes unrealistic expectations.
The organizations’ skeptical statements are contradicting their activity. However, after testing the Learning Coin, both IMF’s and World Bank’s executives may change their opinion on cryptos for the better.