Washington-based financial institutions The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank recently announced their plans to research the potential of cryptocurrencies via a private blockchain.
The project, which will see the creation of a ‘fake’ cryptocurrency called “Learning Coin”, is intended as a way for the organizations to investigate the nature of cryptocurrency in a real-life environment.
The Financial Times reports last Friday that the two agencies are not creating a ‘real’ cryptocurrency but simply emulating one within an enclosed network. The coin won’t be available to the public or have any real-world value.
The project will not only help staff become more familiar with the emerging technology but also improve the agencies abilities to combat crypto-related money laundering. It indicates a growing realization by financial institutions that cryptocurrency is an important and relevant industry that is not going away anytime soon.
“The development of crypto-assets [ ] is evolving rapidly, [ ] forcing central banks, regulators and financial institutions to recognize a growing knowledge gap between the legislators, policymakers, economists,” noted a statement from the IMF.
Staff will have the chance to ‘earn’ Learning Coins and the chance to ‘spend’ them in a test environment. This immersive approach will help them to better understand both the technological and social aspects involved in cryptocurrency usage.
Reminiscent of the SEC’s ‘Howey Coin’ Project
The project is similar to that of ‘Howey Coin”, a fake cryptocurrency website created by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May last year to educate investors about the risk of cryptocurrency.
While the SEC didn’t create an actual crypto token, the website closely resembled many fake ICO websites launched by fraudulent operators. When visitors took the bait and attempted to invest in the ICO, a link took them to a page explaining why and how they can be more vigilant in spotting fake ICO’s.