In Brief
IMF and World Bank Launch Learning Coin to Educate Staff

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are launching their own blockchain and digital currency to familiarize staff with the concepts, the Financial Times reports.

The currency will only be accessible within the organizations and will not be able to buy real-world goods and services. But a model digital currency economy will operate, as a kind of trial run. Staff will earn the tokens by achieving training goals, then exchange their earnings for rewards of some kind. The tokens will be accessed on an app called ‘Learning Coin’ to emphasize its educational use. The app will also support the institutions’ blogs, research and video content.

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The IMF’s announcement pointed out the growth of cryptocurrencies, crypto-assets and other uses of blockchain and the simultaneous proliferation of information about those things, with varying levels of reliability and bias.

The announcement identified a "growing knowledge gap" between legislators and economists on the one hand, and developers and users of blockchain on the other.

The announcement identified a “growing knowledge gap” between traditional actors like legislators and economists on the one hand, and developers and users of blockchain on the other. It emphasized the widening applications of the technology and the need to respond. It comes days after Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF, told CNBC that cryptocurrencies were “clearly shaking the system”.

The IMF and World Bank have a close relationship, as they regularly cooperate in providing financial aid to economies in crisis. The IMF makes low-interest conditional loans to countries experiencing balance-of-payments problems. The World Bank uses its lending to promote development and reduce poverty. In practice, they both deal with many of the same issues and share responsibilities.