The post World war period was a great time for international cooperation. After the slaughter that had taken place, many sought to understand the complexities of the causes of the war. Unsurprisingly, it was found financial stability was a great antidote for the poison of war. So the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed to foster peace through global monetary cooperation, to help promote high employment and aid in the reduction of poverty around the world.
With changing times the core principles of the organization have remained the same. However, the organisation, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is now focussed on a new challenge: international payment systems. Accounting for the changing nature of the financial and banking sectors they now also look to advise in issues of balance of payment management and navigate through various financial difficulties.
In line with that thought, Ross Leckow, an Internation Monetary Fund [IMF] official was in conversation with Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s Co-founder. Amongst other things, they discussed the Fintech industry and the role of blockchain in it. This was brought up when, during the talk, attention was focused on the present situation in the ASEAN region. At this, Ross stated that his organisation was indeed quite interested in the possibilities and said.
“Last year, we put in place a high-level advisory group of industry leaders from the private and public sectors to help guide us in our work on FinTech. I’m very happy to say that Chris Larsen, one of the co-founders of Ripple […] part of that group. And we’re grateful for the worldly advice that they give us.”
It appears that the IMF has been exploring the possibilities for some time. They have collaborated and also looked for guidance from both public as well as private players. The chief cause of interest is the field of cross-border payments. They are naturally intrigued by the possibilities that blockchain might offer and its potential impacts on FinTech. Although the Deputy General Counsel at IMF was quick to drag in other “new technologies”, such as the Intenet and cloud computing, that he felt were positively impacting his area of expertise. Later, the conversation again drifted to distributed ledgers and virtual assets and Ross conceded that Fintech was the future.
Fintech( financial technology) is the amalgamation of new and emergent technologies and innovations with existing financial institutions to provide a better alternative to the traditional financial methods in delivering services.
The IMF and its board of 189 member countries are keen to weigh any useful advice on the topic of harnessing the full potential of FinTech to boost development, especially the post-global financial crisis of 2008. Some of the member states are also open to suggestions in regards to regulations that guard their citizenry against the possible risks posed by these emergent technologies. The IMF man also revealed their active participation in research and publications dedicated to the industry as a whole and crypto-assets in particular.
Apart from news purported by the far right and far left media, this is one of the most peaceful times in recorded history. There are still a lot of major challenges facing us. However, the tactile acknowledgment by an international organisation of IMFs stature is good for the industry.