The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have launched a private blockchain and quasi-cryptocurrency called “Learning Coin” to better understand the emerging technology.

The Washington-based multinational agencies stressed that “Learning Coin” will be inaccessible outside the World Bank and the IMF and have no monetary value whatsoever, and is therefore not a real cryptocurrency, like bitcoin.

However, its development has helped its staff become more familiar with principles like the distributed ledgers that underlie crypto assets, possible use cases like smart contracts and enhanced transparency, and challenges like facilitating money laundering.

In a statement the IMF said: “The development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it. This is forcing central banks, regulators and financial institutions to recognize a growing knowledge gap between the legislators, policymakers, economists and the technology. This project begins to bridge that gap and form a strong knowledge base of the technology among IMF and World Bank staff.”

The Fund said the Learning Coin app would serve as a “hub for knowledge” helping host their content like blogs, research, videos and presentations. Achieving certain educational milestones will allow World Bank and IMF staff to “earn” Learning Coins. They will have no real value, but the developers are testing how staff can redeem the coins for some kind of rewards, the statement said.

This process will allow the Fund/Bank to better understand how crypto assets could potentially be used in real life. The goal of this project is to promote knowledge — not bias. The app is a prototype that aims to show the good, the bad and the ugly of the technology, without hype or uninformed criticism.

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