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Zimbabwe consulting private sector on legalising cryptocurrency: Report

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The Zimbabwean government is reportedly looking to make cryptocurrencies a legal tender, a top official has said, according to a local news report.

Charles Wekwete, the head of the e-Government technology in the South African country told a Zimbabwean news portal Bulawayo24, that discussions on legalising Bitcoin payments are underway with the private sector players, and soon a decision will be made. Although he did not give any specific timeline on when the decision will be made.

“So the government has put in place mechanism to try and gather views from various sectors of society in order to eventually formulate policies,” he said. “Sooner or later, (the) government will make statements, but we have not gotten there yet. The consultative process is already underway,” Wekwete was quoted by news portal Bulawayo24 as saying.

The Zimbabwean official also spoke about the concerns around the cross-border movement of funds. Money laundering and illicit flow of funds are among the factors that have spurred Zimbabwean regulators, along with many others around the world, to think carefully about opening up to crypto.

“Governments are still trying to understand and properly trying to create policies on how to deal with it (cryptocurrency). In our case, initially, we were trying to understand their implication because they are a fundamental departure from previously known financial instruments and there are a lot of fears about cross border movement of funds, money laundering, externalisation of funds, and illicit flow of funds to fund illicit issues,” he added.

Meanwhile, crypto adoption in South Africa surged 1,200 percent between July 2020 and June 2021, according to data analytics firm Chainalysis. Earlier, this year El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as a legal tender.

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