Zimbabwe defies IMF with gold-backed cryptocurrency

Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg

The $40 million offer is meant to expand value-preserving instruments available in the economy, according to the country’s central bank

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The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has sold gold-backed digital tokens worth around $40 million, in defiance of a warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The action, according to officials, aims to stabilize the country’s economy and to counter the ongoing devaluation of its currency against the US dollar, according to RT News.

Last Friday, the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, announced that it had received 135 applications totaling over 14 billion Zimbabwean dollars (around $40 million) from individuals and entities interested in purchasing the gold-backed cryptocurrency.

The issuance of the gold-backed digital tokens is meant to expand the value-preserving instruments available in the economy and enhance divisibility of the investment instruments and widen their access and usage by the public,” John Mangudya, governor of the Reserve Bank noted.

In an interview with RT, Zambian journalist Austin Kaluba said he believes that the move will have a detrimental effect on the relationship between the US and Zimbabwe. He claimed that Washington, which has imposed several sanctions on Zimbabwe, is a contrinutor to the Southern African nation’s economic woes.

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The IMF had warned Harare that the issuance of such tokens comes with risks that must be thoroughly evaluated.

A careful assessment should be conducted to ensure the benefits from this measure outweigh the costs and potential risks including, for instance, macroeconomic and financial stability risks, legal and operational risks, governance risks, cost of forgone FX reserves,” an IMF spokesperson told Bloomberg.

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