The head of the International Monetary Fund, economist Kristalina Georgieva, is listing the organization’s top priorities for the new year.

To stimulate a healthy global economy for its 189 member countries, Georgieva says leaders will have to “keep pace with fact developments in fintech, including digital currencies.”

The IMF has a long history of pushing countries to embrace the transition to the digital age. In September, former IMF Chief Christine Lagarde implored central banks to embrace the emerging technology.

Despite the IMF’s support for digital assets, the organization’s chief economist, Gita Gopinath, says it will take a while for them to gain a firm foothold in the traditional economy.

Gopinath recently penned an op-ed at the Financial Times, saying central bank digital currencies and digital forms of money issued by tech giants could help improve the “slow, costly and burdensome” status quo of cross-border payments. However, she believes digital assets are a long way from displacing the dominant US dollar.

“Digital currencies issued by big tech firms would undoubtedly have some advantages relative to fiat currencies. Large-scale offerings such as China’s WeChat Pay offer seamless integration of multiple services on a single platform, combined with a low-cost and user-friendly payment system.

Even so, the likelihood that one would give rise to a distinct unit of account disconnected from a fiat currency is remote, not least due to the complex regulatory and jurisdictional issues involved.”


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