Morocco Wants To Regulate Cryptocurrencies, Introduces New Crypto Bill

Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Morocco’s apex bank Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM)

Morocco’s government is looking at regulating the country’s bubbly cryptocurrency environment and according to Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of the country’s apex bank Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), Morocco is working on a final regulatory framework that guides its growing cryptocurrency space. The governor also mentioned that the apex bank was working with major industry players to achieve this and that the regulatory framework is expected to be submitted for approval soon. According to several reports, the governor said that a committee that was “working to put in place an appropriate regulatory framework to combine innovation, technology, and consumer protection” had been put in place.

Abdellatif Jouahri also revealed that Morocco’s central bank – Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) is working hand-in-hand with global financial bodies the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, on the standards it is to adopt as it moves forward in its quest.

The recent actions show that the country can’t deny that crypto is here to stay and is looking away from a ban towards regulating the budding space. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been calling for countries to regulate their crypto environment even as it is against the legalization of cryptocurrencies. Central American country El Salvador is still in the IMF’s bad book for making Bitcoin a legal tender. The recent steps being taken by Morocco’s central bank ultimately mean that the body wants to guide crypto usage in the country.

Cryptocurrencies became banned in Morocco in 2017. The government banned trading activities and issued various warnings against the use of digital currencies in the country. Like many other African countries, the Moroccan government cited volatility, lack of consumer protection, and use for illegal purposes, as reasons for the ban.

Like many other African countries, the use of cryptocurrencies in Morocco continued to grow thanks to several loopholes in the ban. Data from last year show that Morocco places fourth behind Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya in crypto trading volume across Africa.

This growth in usage and adoption of cryptocurrencies became acknowledged in a statement released by the country’s government. The statement which was signed by the central bank, the country’s Capital Market Authority, and the Foreign Exchange Office, reiterated previous warnings and highlighted the risks associated with using cryptocurrencies. It also urged citizens to comply with existing crypto regulations. It is pertinent to add that this growth came amid unfavorable conditions and a tough crypto environment.

In March, the country’s central bank announced that it was “engaging with central banks of friendly nations such as Switzerland and France to learn from their expertise and experience.” The apex bank’s governor also confirmed discussions with the IMF and the World Bank which signaled that the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Morocco was imminent. “Currently, we cannot adopt cryptocurrencies given the lack of regulatory and legislative frameworks both nationally and internationally. The G20 and many countries stress the importance of having a crypto regulatory framework as well as a regulatory framework for CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies),” Governor Abdellatif Jouahri said.

The proposed regulation is a good thing because it will help provide a guide for and clarity on the country’s crypto environment and eventually help with the adoption, acceptance, and use of cryptocurrencies. While the country’s apex bank advises that citizens look into the risks before they invest in cryptocurrencies, it adds that “The regulatory framework will also update the legislation on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.”

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