But cooperation will be essential to avoid disruption. The joke doing the rounds at last week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington was that central banks are looking into cryptocurrencies so that their governors have something to say when they go to conferences and are asked about Bitcoin.

Okay, it’s not that funny. But it says something about how nervous central bankers are about the brave new world of cryptos.

Since cryptocurrencies have gone mainstream, there has been a deluge of speeches and research papers from the world’s top supervisors over the role of digital currencies and the regulatory questions they raise. It’s clear that the cross-border nature of digital currencies means coordination on the regulatory front is required; but there is little agreement over how to do this.

Central bankers generally agree with one another that privately issued cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum aren’t set to replace  traditional currencies. This consensus was well-summarized in the recent IMF “Global Financial Stability Report,” which noted how cryptocurrencies are still far from fulfilling the three text-book functions of money.

“While they may serve as a store of value, their use as a medium of exchange has been limited and their elevated volatility has prevented them from becoming a reliable unit of account,” IMF researchers wrote. Regulators also agree that, while they need to keep a watchful eye on cryptocurrencies, there are much bigger things to worry about. Read more from bloomberg.com…

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