The International Monetary Fund, established in 1944, is an international entity aimed to ensure the stability of the global monetary system, through, among others, promoting international monetary cooperation, promoting exchange stability, and making resources available to members experiencing balance of payments difficulties.
The IMF activities cover three main areas:
- surveillance: overseeing the international monetary system and monitoring the economic and financial policies of its member countries (currently 188);
- lending: providing loans to member countries that need financial assistance to rebuild their international reserves stabilize their currencies, etc.
- technical assistance: assisting member states in designing economic policies and managing their financial affairs more effectively.
The Fund also undertakes research activities, and, among these, it looks at issues related to electronic money and virtual currencies. One example in this regard is a report on virtual currencies published in early 2016, which looks into the benefits and risks associated to the use of such currencies, as well as related regulatory and policy challenges.