IMF's Lagarde Touts Distributed Ledger as Defense Against Terror

The head of one of the world's largest financial organizations has issued new comments addressing blockchain trends.

AccessTimeIconJun 22, 2017 at 12:53 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. UTC
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The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued new comments on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger tech (DLT).

In a speech today at a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting, Christine Lagarde talked broadly about how her organization is seeking to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, noting that blockchain innovations could be both a defense against these issues, as well as a tool that enables them.

"Of course, fintech is a double-edged sword. It can be used to promote and fund terrorism, including through the anonymity of virtual currencies. But it can also be a powerful tool to strengthen our defenses against the financing of terrorism," Lagarde remarked.

Described as the technology that underpins digital currencies, DLT was framed in contrast as a technology that could make the financial system more resilient against attacks, specifically the use of computers to spread fear through cyber-terrorism.

Lagarde told the audience:

"This technology is less vulnerable to a single point of failure and could prove resilient to cyberattacks because the ledger – or record of transactions – exists in multiple copies."

Lagarde went on to highlight a new research note the IMF issued this week, in which its researchers discussed topics including central bank-issued digital currencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), among other concepts.

For more on the IMF's recent work, read our full coverage of its latest report.

Christine Lagarde image via Shutterstock


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