IMF Director Says CBDCs Could Replace Cash, Increase “Financial Inclusion”

by Cindy Harper |

November 21st 2023, 4:15 am

The concept of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) – the opposite of decentralized crypto – whose purpose can be summed up as a way to keep financial power firmly cemented in the hands of governments and their central banks in the digital age, unsurprisingly has a staunch supporter in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Both CBDCs and the IMF are global darlings and here, they come together, with the latter’s top officials like Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva talking up the benefits of the former.

Georgieva addressed the Singapore FinTech Festival, and according to her keynote speech, CBCDs are capable of replacing cash (another long-time dream held dear by financial elites, but also authorities who like to keep a close eye, not to say surveil, the activities of the population).

And CBCDs can also apparently do the magic trick of “financial inclusion.”

Other benefits, as listed by Georgieva, are better “resilience” of developed economies, more convenient cross-border banking, as well as low-cost and safety in terms of being “alternatives” to what is referred to as “private money.”

Speaking of, Georgieva claimed that high quality personal data protection can be achieved with CBDCs, and the IMF also seems to be considering how “AI” might be baked into the whole thing, in order to “enhance” CBDCs.

But all this effort into promoting the scheme, and by top global financial industry bureaucrats like Georgieva, isn’t happening by chance; by her own admission, implementation of CBDCs is still far from a done deal, even if, according to IMF’s data, 60 percent of countries are “exploring” this possibility “in some form.”

Hardly a firm commitment by the world, and that is why a nevertheless “optimistic” Georgieva admitted that CBDC adoption is, globally speaking, “nowhere close” – at the same time urging “the public sector to keep preparing to deploy” this type of money.

Singapore (with its known tech-related track-record in many areas, not all of them universally understood as stellar) – was praised by Georgieva as a hub of FinTech innovation, and at another event held there, the IMF-Singapore Regional Training Institute (STI) meeting, also spoke about CBCDs.

The IMF also has “a virtual handbook” on CBCDs out, whose purpose is to serve as a “reference guide for policymakers and experts at central banks and ministries of finance.”

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