The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have joined forces to launch “Learning Coin,” a so-called “quasi-cryptocurrency” with its own private blockchain. News of the quasi-coin first appeared on Friday, April 12, in the Financial Times.
FT made a point to stress that Learning Coin has no monetary value and is not a “real cryptocurrency.” Instead, the coin has been created as a tool for IMF and the World Bank to better understand blockchain technology and how cryptocurrencies can be used.
IMF: “The development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly.”
The Learning Coin will also come with an application where research, videos, presentations, and blog articles are stored. The staff of the World Bank and the IMF will earn Learning Coins in exchange for achieving educational milestones. Learning Coin holders can then redeem the coins for some “real-life” rewards.
While it may seem light-hearted on the surface, the initiative has a serious motive: banks and regulators around the world must catch up with the cryptocurrency technologies that are being developed at an accelerating pace.
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“The development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it,” the IMF said to the Financial Times. “This is forcing central banks, regulators and financial institutions to recognize a growing knowledge gap between the legislators, policymakers, economists and the technology.”
FT also reported that once this test has been completed, IMF may launch a system of smart contracts and use blockchain technology to combat money laundering and enhance banking transparency.
The test is the latest indication that the IMF is taking blockchain technology seriously. Earlier this month, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that blockchain innovators are successfully shaking-up the world of traditional finance. Lagarde also observed that central banks and regulators are taking the potential impact of blockchain technology seriously.