Regulation Round-Up: Kenya, Ghana and Algeria Fudding and Fighting Bitcoin
Governments across Africa are striking a firm tone regarding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, with Algeria’s congress expected to ban all cryptocurrencies, and Kenya’s central bank warning against the risks of cryptocurrency, and an advisor to Ghana’s ministry of communications describing “fear of the unknown” as the principal barrier to greater adoption of virtual currencies. In other news, a Kenyan man has negotiated to pay the ‘goat portion’ of his dowry using bitcoin.
Kenyan Central Bank Fears Bitcoin May Comprise “Ponzi Scheme”
Despite the warning, Dr. Njoroge recently expressed his hesitance to rush to regulate cryptocurrencies, describing the CBK as being 'open' to innovations in financial technology. Speaking at the recent Global Financial Forum in Dubai, Dr. Njoroge stated: 'If you're the regulator, you have to be careful that all risks are taken care of, including in cryptocurrencies, but we're very open to innovation.'
Kenyan Citizen Arranges to Partially Pay Dowry Using Bitcoin Rather Than Goats
The 26-year-old Mr. Mburu quit university in 2010 only one semester into an engineering course. Mr. Mburu recently discussed his decision with Kenyan media, stating 'Formal education is good. It will give you an average life. You'll eat, have your mortgage, car loan and all that ' live an average life; struggle through life to the end.' Since discovering the cryptocurrency, Mr. Mburu states that his entire life has come to revolve around bitcoin. 'Everything is bitcoin. Where I live, bitcoin; what I drive, bitcoin; investment, bitcoin. It will be a bitcoin wedding,' he said.
“Fear of the Unknown” Hinders Ghanan Bitcoin Adoption
Mr. Boasiako emphasized the need for Ghana's tech community to mobilize in order to demystify cryptocurrencies, stating 'We are battling fear, the state doesn't want to move forward because it doesn't know what's there. To demystify cryptocurrency, we need a community-driven agenda. We need to strategically demystify the misconceptions around cryptocurrency and get it integrated into the government digitization agenda.' Mr. Boasiako suggested the establishment of a 'working group on cryptocurrency that has members from stakeholders like the Bank of Ghana,' recommending that such a body should closely monitor developments in the sphere of cryptocurrency regulation in other jurisdictions.
Algeria Expected to Ban All Cryptocurrencies
An accompanying memorandum emphasizes the concerns that bitcoin's potential anonymity sparks among Algerian lawmakers, stating 'Algeria hopes to establish a stricter control over this kind of digital transaction, which can be used for drug trafficking, tax evasion, and money laundering thanks to the guaranteed anonymity of its users.” The document asserts that despite cryptocurrencies having 'long been the prerogative of illegal transaction,' they are able to “get rid of their bad reputation in democratizing and attracting a wider audience.”
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