It seems increasingly clear that opposition to cryptocurrency can be considered an official position of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and we can expect anti-crypto restrictions to become a common condition of its loans to economies in crisis.
Most recently, Argentina has agreed to “discourage” the use of cryptocurrency as a condition of a $45 billion loan from the IMF. The announcement comes less than a year after El Salvador’s plan to use bitcoin as legal tender met with vocal complaints from the IMF ahead of negotiations on a loan with that country.
Argentina has been mired in a dire economic crisis for years, with fallout including high inflation. The country also carries huge sovereign debt and has a history of default, making borrowing on conventional markets more difficult.
Meanwhile, as laid out by The Block, Buenos Aires has become a significant center of blockchain and crypto development, substantially because the country’s economic and monetary chaos has pushed residents to seek the relative stability and trustworthiness of crypto like bitcoin. Crypto companies and organizations in the country are still reportedly seeking clarity on what exactly it would mean for their government to “discourage” the use of crypto.
But if Argentines have decided that crypto is a useful way for them to individually cope with economic chaos, why is the IMF trying to stop them?
The IMF’s real purpose
To understand what’s going on here, you have to understand the political history and true purpose of the IMF.
The agency was founded in 1944, in what the official narrative describes as an attempt to “avoid repeating the competitive currency devaluations that contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
Sharp eyes will notice some sleight of hand here. The Great Depression largely ended by the mid-1930s, and the early 1940s were marked by something much more pressing than a hypothetical repeat: World War II. In reality, the IMF was founded less as a response to the Depression than as preparation for the end of the war and the reconstruction of Europe.