Get serious about digital currency, IMF Christine Lagarde says

“What we will be looking into is how this currency, the special drawing right, can actually use the technology to be more efficient and less costly,” she said.

Lagarde moderated a panel discussion on Thursday focused on fintech and the role of central banks, featuring central bank officials and executives from fintech companies. Lagarde told CNBC she expects the IMF will play a role in regulating the fintech industry going forward.

“My hope is that we can participate in that process because I see that as a very cross-border process,” she said.

Fintech, Lagarde said, is already causing disruptions in the financial services industry as new technologies lower the cost of financial transactions. She pointed to distributed ledger technology like blockchain that can help make the banking system more inclusive.

“I think of women in some of the developing countries that have to carry cash around who are at risk of violence and all the rest of it,” she said. “If they can use their cell phone and operate in a much more discreet and efficient way, it would be terrific.”

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