An International Monetary Fund paper looks into virtual currencies and their associated benefits and risks

The International Monetary Fund published a ‘discussion note‘ on ‘Virtual currencies and beyond: initial consideration’. The paper looks into benefits and risks associated to virtual currencies (VCs), as well as related regulatory and policy challenges. It is said that, while VCs offer benefits such as greater speed and efficiency in making payments and transfers, they also pose significant risks as they can be used for money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and fraud. With regards to regulation, the paper notes that ‘regulatory responses should be commensurate to the risks, without stifling innovation’ and that ‘due consideration should be given to the degree of integration between the conventional financial system and the VC market’.