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IMF worried cryptos may displace naira, other currencies of developing countries

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IMF downgrades forecast for Nigeria's economic recovery in 2021

The International Monetary Fund has expressed concern that cryptocurrencies would become a major currency in Nigeria and other developing countries.

It also added that the currency has made it very difficult to protect the world financial system.

The IMF disclosed this in a report titled, ‘Global Crypto Regulation Should be Comprehensive, Consistent, and Coordinated’ released on Thursday.

According to the IMF emerging markets and developing economies face immediate and serious risks of currency substitution by crypto assets.

It however promised to safeguard the stability of the international monetary and financial system.

Part of the report reads: “Some emerging markets and developing economies face more immediate and acute risks of currency substitution through crypto assets, the so-called cryptoisation.

“Capital flow management measures will need to be fine-tuned in the face of cryptoisation. This is because applying established regulatory tools to manage capital flows may be more challenging when value is transmitted through new instruments, new channels, and new service providers that are not regulated entities.”

“Crypto-assets will soon pose systemic financial stability in some countries as policymakers struggle to monitor risks”

IMF added that crypto assets were drastically changing the financial system it was trying to protect.

The IMF said, “Crypto assets and associated products and services have grown rapidly in recent years. Furthermore, inter linkages with the regulated financial system are rising.

“Policymakers struggle to monitor risks from this evolving sector, in which many activities are unregulated. In fact, we think these financial stability risks could soon become systemic in some countries.”

“While the nearly $2.5tn market capitalisation indicates significant economic value of the underlying technological innovations such as the blockchain, it might also reflect froth in an environment of stretched valuations.”

According to the international fund body, identifying, monitoring, and management of crypto-related risks continues to defy regulators and firms.

It added that in developing economies for instance, cryptoisation was threatening to replace domestic currency, and circumvent exchange restrictions and capital account management measures.

The IMF said, “Such risks underscore why we now need comprehensive international standards that more fully address risks to the financial system from crypto assets, their associated ecosystem, and their related transactions, while allowing for an enabling environment for useful crypto asset products and applications.”

“Importantly, many crypto service providers operate across borders, making the task for supervision and enforcement more difficult. Uncoordinated regulatory measures may facilitate potentially destabilising capital flows.”

Read also: IMF urges Nigeria to remove fuel subsidy early 2022

According to the IMF, there is a need for a global regulatory framework that provides a level playing ground along the activity and risk spectrum.

It said crypto-asset service providers that deliver critical functions should be licensed or authorised.

The IMF said, “These would include storage, transfer, settlement, and custody of reserves and assets, among others, similar to existing rules for financial service providers.

“Licensing and authorisation criteria should be clearly articulated, the responsible authorities clearly designated, and coordination mechanisms among them well defined. Requirements should be tailored to the main use cases of crypto assets and stablecoins.”

The IMF added there was an urgent need for cross-border collaboration and cooperation to address technological, legal, regulatory, and supervisory challenges.

“Crypto assets are potentially changing the international monetary and financial system in profound ways,” it added.

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