A top official at Zimbabwe’s Central Bank has said the currency is not actually legal in the country. According to the Zimbabwean Chronicle, the Director and registrar for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Norman Mataruka was quoted as saying “bitcoin … is not actually legal”. He also made note of what the position on Bitcoin is for Southern African countries.
“In Southern Africa, what we have done as regulators, we have said that we will not allow [bitcoin] in our markets.”
Namibia’s central bank had announced last month had declared cryptocurrency purchases illegal. It delivered a nine-page paper and extended its ban to ban cryptocurrencies from being accepted by traders or even formed in the first place.
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The Zimbabwean Central Bank boss’ statement, however, doesn’t make it clear if Bitcoin is illegal as legal tender or is under a wider prohibition. Mataruka reported that research is being carried out to determine the risk associated with Bitcoin and said it will not be allowed until the Central Bank has developed a framework.
This news is interesting as Zimbabwe undergoes a regime change from decade old Robert Mugabe to Emmerson Mnangagwa. The country has undergone tough economic times as its GDP growth is currently in the negative. Economic hardship saw the acceptance of Bitcoin as an alternative currency for many Zimbabweans who couldn’t rely on the Zimbabwean dollar.
Bitcoin in Zimbabwe at the time this article was published had surged past $17,000 per Bitcoin.
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