The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated in a recently released report that the rapid growth of Bitcoin and crypto could impact the international finance system.
The report entitled “World Economic Outlook: Challenges to Steady Growth” published by the IMF read:
“Cybersecurity breaches and cyberattacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services. Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system.”
Rapid Growth, Improving Regulation, Acknowledgement From Government Agencies
Despite the 80 percent decline in the valuation of the crypto market, the industry has seen some of the most positive developments regarding the institutionalization, regulation, and development of cryptocurrencies as an emerging asset class in the past nine months.
Led by existing companies like Coinbase and Gemini, major financial institutions in the likes of NYSE, Cboe, and Goldman Sachs have started to strengthen the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency market, allowing both high profile retail traders and institutional investors to allocate large amounts of money in the asset class.
As the cryptocurrency sector continues to grow at an exponential rate, the IMF emphasized that it could create vulnerabilities in the financial system. Because cryptocurrencies are considered alternative currencies with value, a growing number of hackers have started to target digital asset trading platforms with sophisticated tools and hacking methods.
“Stealing cryptocurrencies is similar to stealing cash, and exchanges will continue to be targeted by hacking attacks in the long-term. It is as important to establish systems to deal with the aftermath of hacking attacks as integrating various methods to prevent hacking attacks,” Jeon Ha-jin, the chairman of South Korea Blockchain Association said.
In South Korea, the third largest cryptocurrency exchange market behind the US and Japan, exchanges have begun to insure their funds through trusted insurance providers like Samsung to add an additional layer of security and investor protection.
Gemini, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in the US alongside Coinbase, also recently obtained insurance services from Aon to ensure that in an unlikely event of a security breach, the exchange is able to cover user funds and holdings fully.
“Consumers are looking for the same levels of insured protection they’re used to being afforded by traditional financial institutions. Educating our insurers not only allows us to provide such protections to our customers, but it also sets the expectation for consumer protection across the crypto industry,” Yusuf Hussain, Gemini’s Head of Risk, said.
The cryptocurrency industry and infrastructure employed by exchanges are relatively new and fundamentally different from the technologies implemented by the traditional finance sector. As such, it is appropriate for the IMF and government agencies to describe the rapid growth of the asset class a risk to global finance.
But, continuous efforts to strengthen the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency market and improve investor protection will reduce the risk cryptocurrencies have on the global finance industry.
Expert Believes it is Optimistic
Emin Gun Sirer, a professor at the prestigious Cornell University and a highly regarded expert in the space of cryptocurrency and blockchain, stated that the acknowledgement of cryptocurrencies as an asset class by the IMF is optimistic for the industry.