Crypto Assets and CBDCs in Latin America and the Caribbean: Opportunities and Risks


Maximiliano Appendino ; Olga Bespalova ; Rina Bhattacharya ; Jean François Clevy ; Nan Geng ; Takuji Komatsuzaki ; Justin Lesniak ; Weicheng Lian ; Sandra Marcelino ; Mauricio Villafuerte ; Yorbol Yakhshilikov

Publication Date:

February 17, 2023

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


After providing a general overview of the nature, pros, and cons of crypto assets and CBDCs, this paper focuses on documenting their recent experience in LAC. The region records a high interest in unbacked crypto assets and stablecoins and its authorities’ policy responses have varied substantially, ranging from the introduction of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador to their prohibition in many other countries worried about their impact on financial stability, currency/asset substitution, tax evasion, corruption, and money laundering. This paper also describes briefly the results of a survey on CBDCs’ introduction plans and crypto assets regulation. Finally, this paper presents some general lessons and policy recommendations for the region on the regulation of cypto assets, digital currencies and cross-border payments, and on the potential introduction of CBDCs.


Working Paper No. 2023/037




Publication Date:

February 17, 2023



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