IMF's Deputy General Counsel: Asian Countries Are Eager to 'Unlock Benefits' of Fintech

  • Ripple company's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, and International Monetary Fund's (IMF), Ross Leckow, recently discussed the potential impact of blokchain technology and crypto.
  • Leckow said that Southeast Asian states are looking for guidance regarding how to adopt the latest financial technology.

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple Labs, recently discussed the potential “opportunities” blockchain technology and digital assets may offer to financial institutions that are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN is a “regional intergovernmental organization” comprising ten Southeast Asian countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, among others.

The organization aims to “improve intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other Asian states.”

Garlinghouse’s discussion involved comments and responses from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Deputy General Counsel, Ross Leckow.

IMF "Engaging Closely" With Private Fintech Firms

Leckow, a law graduate from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Counsel at IMF since 2008, noted that ASEAN’s member countries are looking for guidance on how to harness the benefits of the latest financial technology, while also being able to put the appropriate regulations in place - in order to ensure consumer protection.

At present, Leckow explained that the IMF has been publishing research related to the recent advancements in financial technology, and “engaging closely with [the related] private sector and industry.”

Regulatory Clarity Is Required For Blockchain Adoption

In response to Leckow’s question about how ASEAN member states are dealing with the legal issues related to distributed ledger technology (DLT) and fintech adoption, Garlinghouse said:

Regulatory clarity has a huge ability to drive digital asset and blockchain adoption. It is surprising how many markets still have uncertainty. But, in ASEAN, the regulatory environment for blockchain and digital asset technology is clear.

Brad Garlinghouse

Garlinghouse added: 

Several countries have contributed to this, including Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines ... Thailand has introduced a framework that balances consumer protection with innovation. It legalized several digital assets, including XRP, and provides clear and explicit guidelines for outside blockchain companies to operate.

Brad Garlinghouse

$130 Billion In Remittance Payments Received By East Asian Markets Last Year

Garlinghouse went on to emphasize the importance of regulatory clarity as he thinks that it makes it easier for firms to apply blockchain technology “to solve real-world” business problems.

The Ripple company CEO pointed out that the East Asian markets “received $130 billion in inbound remittance payments” in 2017. However, the high transaction costs associated with such transfers indicates that there is a strong requirement for “adoption of new technology, like blockchain, to drive costs dramatically lower”, Garlinghouse noted.

As CryptoGlobe reported, the chairwoman of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has said that the world’s central banks should seriously consider developing digital currencies as they may have some legitimate use cases.