The past week saw the International Monetary Fund (IMF) release their trimonthly World Economic Outlook report. The report, dubbed ”Challenges to Steady Growth”, saw a notable focus on cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin.
More specifically, the report raised a warning that if Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies experience rapid growth in the coming years, then that could potentially have substantial implications for the global financial system.
According to the report, ”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.”
Moreover, it goes on to specifically note how ”continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system.”
The IMF report heavily touched on how increased adoption and use of cryptocurrencies could facilitate large-scale hacking attacks, if the underlying security infrastructure is not up to par.
”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,” according to the chairman of the South Korea Blockchain Association, Jeon Ha-jin.
This comes as some cryptocurrency exchanges have begun to put an increased emphasis on improving customer security through the use of insurances, as a means to help cover any losses incurred in possible hacking attacks.
Although this practice has been most prominent in South Korea, it was recently revealed that the US-based cryptocurrency exchange ”Gemini” had obtained similar insurance services from Aon.
According to Gemini’s Head of Risk, Yusuf Hussain, ”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.”
Several industry observers have noted that the IMF is correct in highlighting potential pitfalls that could stem from the too rapid growth of the cryptocurrency asset class, so that these could be avoided without neglecting security infrastructure.
Nevertheless, the report has been interpreted by some cryptocurrency aficionados as a bullish signal, arguing that the IMF would only release such a warning if the organization indeed deems that the chance (or risk) of continued rapid growth in cryptocurrencies seems likely.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.