Bitcoin recently received an unexpected boost thanks to praises from International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde that detailed the global benefits of the decentralized digital currency. In a blog post that was published on Monday, April 16 the IMF boss pointed out that digital currencies such as bitcoin have the potential of offering fast and cheap transactions while blockchain, the underlying technology, can be used to make financial transactions more secure.
About a month ago, Lagarde published a blog post that was intended to caution people against the potential risks of cryptocurrencies. While she still has a few of the previous sentiments regarding precautionary measures to ensure a sustainable crypto framework, her most recent blog post leans more towards the potential benefits of crypto assets.
Lagarde still believes that there is a dire need for a crackdown on illicit activity involving crypto, something that she initially spoke of during the World Economic Forum 2018 back in January. Even so, she reiterates the essence of an “even-handed approach” from now on.
“Understanding the risks that crypto-assets may pose to financial stability is vital if we are to distinguish between real threats and needless fears. That is why we need an even-handed regulatory agenda, one that protects against risks without discouraging innovation,” Ms. Lagarde said. “A clear-eyed approach can help us harness the gains and avoid the pitfalls of the new crypto-assets landscape.”
“An important initial step will be to reach a consensus within the global regulatory community on the role crypto-assets should play. Because crypto-assets know no boundaries, international cooperation will be essential,” she added.
New York Opens Probe into Exchanges
Barely a day after Christine Lagarde made her support for bitcoin public, the office of the New York Attorney General sent out letters to 13 cryptocurrency exchanges. The letters require that the exchanges provide information that would help to improve transparency in the digital currency industry.
“With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money. Yet too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms,” NY Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman wrote. “Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative sets out to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency in the virtual currency marketplace that investors and consumers deserve.”
The letters included a questionnaire that requested information about the basic operation and fees, trading policies and procedures as well as the anti-money laundering and anti-hacking control measures they have put in place. While this probe is meant to protect the interests of New York-based cryptocurrency traders, it might have significant implications for the exchanges’ international customers.