IMF Issues Crypto Caution, Claims It’s Not “Real Money”

By Ben Knight January 16, 2024 In Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, ETF
  • The Managing Director of financial authorities IMF suggests that BTC and other cryptocurrencies aren’t “real money”, but investment vehicles.
  • Georgieva doesn’t completely rule out digital assets, saying that it is “important to diversify”.
  • The IMF has advised against using BTC as a legal tender due to its lack of backing.
  • Two nations – El Salvador and Central African Republic – have gone against the grain and officially implemented Bitcoin as a legal tender.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF has seen an influx of experts weigh in on the asset class. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is one of the more influential authorities when it comes to financial matters. So when they speak, people tend to listen.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, The IMF’s Managing Director stressed the importance of differentiating between digital currencies and ‘real” currencies like the USD or AUD. 

When we talk about crypto, we are actually talking about an asset class…it is not exactly money. It’s more like a money management fund.

Kristalina Georgieva

When prompted to discuss whether the day will come when BTC (or another digital currency) will rival traditional, fiat-based economy, Georgieva was pretty comfortable that it won’t be happening any time soon.

This day… is so far in the future that it is not very useful to talk about it. Why is the dollar today a dominant currency? Because of the size of the U.S. economy and the depth of the capital markets in the U.S.

Kristalina Georgieva

In a December 2023 press release on cryptocurrency, the IMF Director similarly pushed for crypto to be distinct from fiat currencies due to their lack of intrinsic value.


Do not make crypto assets legal tender or official currencies. Clarify and consistently apply laws, standards and regulations including for anti-money laundering and financing terrorism.

Kristalina Georgieva

Many nations have attempted to implement these standards – but not all have been listening. Crypto as a legal tender makes little sense for nations with stable economies like Australia and the United States. However, those suffering from high unbanked rates, hyperinflation and other uncertainties may benefit from using digital assets.

El Salvador and the Central African Republic both accept BTC as legal tender. Although neither implementation has been particularly successful, it does suggest that the IMF’s advice isn’t necessarily applicable to every economy, and crypto may still have a place as “real money” in the future.

Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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