Head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, praises crypto

In an unexpected U-turn, the head of the IMF has sung the praises of cryptocurrencies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, says digital currencies can “transform our lives.”

The crypto world has been suffering from negative press for most of this year; something Lagarde has been contributing to.

This latest twist from one of the most influential figures in global finance is a sure sign of a decisive turn in sentiment.

Bitcoin’s value saw a rise today following Lagarde’s words detailing the benefits of cryptocurrency.

Ms. Lagarde wrote in a blog post that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could enable fast and inexpensive transactions.

She also explains how the underlying blockchain technology can make financial markets safer.

“Just as a few technologies that emerged from the dot-com era have transformed our lives, the crypto assets that survive could have a significant impact on how we save, invest and pay our bills,” Ms. Lagarde wrote in the blog post.

The price of Bitcoin risen back above $8,000 following the publication of Ms. Lagarde’s comments.

It is unclear if the gains are directly attributable to the news, however.

Cryptocurrency regulation

The IMF chief highlights the comments she made to the Bank of England last year.

She is calling for an even-handed approach toward regulation in the hope of exploiting the benefits while simultaneously minimizing the risks.

In her blog post, Ms. Lagarde writes:

“Before crypto-assets can transform financial activity in a meaningful and lasting way, they must earn the confidence and support of consumers and authorities,”

“An important initial step will be to reach a consensus within the global regulatory community on the role crypto-assets should play.

“Because crypto-assets know no boundaries, international cooperation will be essential.”

In a separate blog post last month, Lagarde was voicing her concerns about cryptocurrencies.

The article, titled “Addressing the dark side of the crypto world,” went some way in driving down cryptocurrency sentiment.

In it, she describes the “peril that comes along with the promise,” due to the technology’s decentralized and semi-anonymous nature.

Such pitfalls she cites include the financing of terrorism and new methods of money laundering.

Her suggestion that cryptocurrencies can facilitate the purchase of drugs and weapons over the internet also put the fear into potential investors.

Adding to the positive sentiment

Ms. Lagarde’s latest comments come after a rough start to the year for the cryptocurrency market.

After recent lows, Bitcoin’s price saw a surge of over $1000 in less than an hour last week.

This lift was a welcome sign of recovery following months of steady decline.

Bitcoin has managed to hold on to the unprecedented gains, with the price leveling around $8,000 in recent days.

Positive news in the cryptosphere such as a prominent Islamic scholar declaring Bitcoin halal under Sharia Law is certainly helping.

Ms. Lagarde’s comments are likely to add to this positive sentiment and are certainly adding to the market’s most recent uptick.