I'm using an IMF data set that includes mobile money variables along with a data set of cryptocurrency use. I found the mobile money variables to be highly correlated with the cryptocurrency use data. I'm wondering now if cryptocurrency trading and payment platforms are actually being considered as mobile money and directly contributing to the mobile money data. And if no is a clear answer for this, any theories about the correlation?
Does the IMF consider Bitcoin to be "Mobile Money"? (paraphrased)
It appears not.
Their Mobile Money Note 2019 defines Mobile Money as
Mobile money is a pay-as-you-go digital medium of exchange and store of value using mobile money accounts which is typically offered by a mobile network operator (MNO) or another entity in partnership with an MNO. It has had a profound impact on the way people access finance, particularly in countries without deep banking penetration and with poor infrastructure. Mobile money offers a novel way to access financial services, especially for individuals who do not have access to traditional banking services, as the only requirement is a basic mobile phone. Customers need to register with a mobile money agent to obtain an individual virtual account linked to their mobile phone number and accessible through a SIM card. Users can carry out financial transactions—including making peer-topeer transfers, bill payments, in-store purchases, remittances and savings—across mobile money accounts through the data messaging channel. In select countries, microcredit is also offered via mobile money. Studies suggest that, as mobile money reaches scale, new and enhanced services including credit and insurance may be offered through this channel on a larger scale (GSMA, 2018a).
So the IMF consider mobile money to be money that is tied to mobile phones.
Although there are Bitcoin-wallet apps that run on mobile phones, they
do not require registration with a mobile money agent. They don't link virtual accounts to mobile phone number. They don't use GSM's data messaging channels.