IMF Says Bitcoin Has Matured To Be “An Integral Part Of The Digital Asset Revolution”
Crypto assets are no longer on the fringes of the financial system, and this raises stability issues, according to new IMF research.
Cryptocurrencies are no longer an unknown asset class within the financial ecosystem, but their increasing correlation with the stock market undermines the “investment hedge” role of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, according to a new study by the Monetary Fund. International (IMF).
An accompanying blog article highlights the new risks associated with the growing interconnection between virtual assets and financial markets. Written by the head of the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, Tobias Adrian, as well as by economist Tara Iyer and the deputy head of the Research division, Mahvash S. Qureshi, the article states that the growing correlation between crypto assets and equities “limit their perceived benefits from risk diversification and increase the risk of contagion in financial markets.”
“Cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin, have gone from being an unknown asset class with few users to becoming an integral part of the digital asset revolution,” the article reads, adding that this transition is accompanied by concerns about financial stability.
Since BTC and Ether (ETH) rarely correlated with major stock indices before the pandemic, the authors agreed that crypto assets helped diversify risk for investors by acting as a hedge against swings in other asset classes. “But this changed after the extraordinary responses of central banks to the crisis in early 2020,” the article reads, adding that cryptocurrencies and equities rose as investors’ appetite for risk increased. .
The correlation coefficient between the price of Bitcoin and the S&P 500 index has skyrocketed 3,600%, from 0.01 to 0.36 after April 2020. This means that the two asset classes have risen and fallen more similarly since the coronavirus pandemic. With a tighter correlation comes greater risks for Bitcoin, according to IMF experts. The growing interconnection between cryptocurrency and equity markets would allow the transmission of shocks that can destabilize financial markets. Noting that crypto assets are no longer on the fringes of the financial system, the authors said:
“Given their volatility and relatively high valuations, their growing joint movement could soon pose risks to financial stability, especially in countries with wide adoption of crypto assets.”
The experts also called for a coordinated global regulatory framework “to guide national regulation and supervision and mitigate financial stability risks arising from the cryptocurrency ecosystem.” Last month, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath made a similar call for a global policy on cryptocurrencies. She argued that if countries ban cryptocurrencies, they will not have any control over overseas exchanges that are not subject to their country’s regulations.
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