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IMF (International Monetary Fund) chief and presidential candidate for the ECB (European Central Bank), Christine Lagarde, today asserted that central banks and financial regulators should protect consumers, but that they should also be open to innovations and these include cryptocurrencies.

In her opening statement to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on September 4th, IMF chief, Lagarde said:

“In this environment, central banks and supervisors need to ensure the safety of the financial sector, but also to be open to the opportunities provided by change. In the case of new technologies – including digital currencies – that means being alert to risks in terms of financial stability, privacy or criminal activities, and ensuring appropriate regulation is in place to steer technology towards the public good. But it also means recognising the wider social benefits from innovation and allowing them space to develop.”

Lagarde has already referred to the inevitability of regulation of cryptocurrency, as reported in Cointelegraph in February of this year, claiming that this is “inevitable and necessary on an international level.” In April, Lagarde referred to blockchain innovators “shaking the traditional financial world”, impacting on existing players.

In her bid for the presidency for the ECB, Lagarde promised a firm commitment to the institution’s mandate and continuing agility:

“So, if confirmed as President, I will draw on the same sound principles: combining firm commitment to the mandate with the agility to adapt as the world around us changes.”

She also highlighted the challenges that have arisen through rapidly-changing times and stated her belief in the need for a forward-looking monetary policy:

“Third, central banks are increasingly facing new types of challenges, not least related to climate change, the disruptive impact of technological change, and the potential fragmentation of the current multilateral order. Here I see it as crucial that monetary policy is forward-looking and considers the broader context in which price stability is achieved.”

Lagarde also focused on the need for inclusiveness and diversity, and advocated “speaking and listening to as wide a range of voices as possible, and making that dialogue a central part of policymaking.” Finishing her address by returning to the importance of innovation to achieving the ECB’s  mandate, Lagarde said:

“To deliver on commitment, agility and inclusiveness,innovation and cooperation will be required in addition to accountability and communication.”

The whole opening statement from Lagarde can be read here:

Christine Lagarde’s Opening Statement to Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament