Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations


Dong He ; Karl F Habermeier ; Ross B Leckow ; V. Haksar ; Yasmin Almeida ; Mikari Kashima ; Nadim Kyriakos-Saad ; Hiroko Oura ; Tahsin Saadi Sedik ; Natalia Stetsenko ; Concha Verdugo Yepes

Publication Date:

January 20, 2016

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Staff Discussion Note represents the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent IMF views or IMF policy. The views expressed herein should be attributed to the authors and not to the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management. Staff Discussion Notes are published to elicit comments and to further debate.


New technologies are driving transformational changes in the global financial system. Virtual currencies (VCs) and the underlying distributed ledger systems are among these. VCs offer many potential benefits, but also considerable risks. VCs could raise efficiency and in the long run strengthen financial inclusion. At the same time, VCs could be potential vehicles for money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and fraud. While risks to the conduct of monetary policy seem less likely to arise at this stage given the very small scale of VCs, risks to financial stability may eventually emerge as the new technologies become more widely used. National authorities have begun to address these challenges and will need to calibrate regulation in a manner that appropriately addresses the risks without stifling innovation. As experience is gained, international standards and best practices could be considered to provide guidance on the most appropriate regulatory responses in different fields, thereby promoting harmonization and cooperation across jurisdictions.


Staff Discussion Notes No. 2016/003



See also related press release: New IMF Staff Paper Looks at How to Reap the Benefits and Curtail the Risks of Virtual Currencies


Publication Date:

January 20, 2016



Stock No:




Please address any questions about this title to