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Winds of Change: The Case for New Digital Currency
By Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director
Singapore Fintech Festival
November 14, 2018
As prepared for delivery
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen—good morning and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important event.
In Singapore, it is often windy. Winds here bring change, and opportunity. Historically, they blew ships to its port. These resupplied while waiting for the Monsoon to pass, for the seasons to change.
“Change is the only constant,” wrote the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus.
Singapore knows this. You know this. It is the true spirit of the Fintech Festival—opening doors to new digital futures; hoisting sails to the winds of change.
And yet change can appear daunting, destabilizing, even threatening. This is especially true for technological change, which disrupts our habits, jobs, and social interactions.
The key is to harness the benefits while managing the risks.
When it comes to fintech, Singapore has shown exceptional vision—think of its regulatory sandbox where new ideas can be tested. Think of its Fintech Innovation Lab, and its collaboration with major central banks on cross-border payments.
In this context, I would like to do three things this morning:
First, frame the issue in terms of the changing nature of money and the fintech revolution.
Second, evaluate the role for central banks in this new financial landscape—especially in providing digital currency.
Third, look at some downsides, and consider how they can be minimized.
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