The Zimbabwean government is seeking counsel from various private stakeholders to determine how cryptocurrency could be adopted for making legal payments in the country, according to reports published by local news portal Bulawayo24. The move could make Zimbabwe the second country in the world to accept cryptocurrency as legal tender, the first being El Salvador, which adopted bitcoin in September.
Retired Brigadier Colonel Charles Wekwete revealed on Saturday, November 6 at a Computer Society of Zimbabwe summit that the Zimbabwean government has initiated talks with various businesses and will also hold discussions with citizens as part of its research before deciding upon making cryptocurrency a legal tender.
Charles Wekweta, who is the permanent secretary and head of the E-Government Technology Unit in the office of the President, disclosed to the news portal that the government is holding consultations with the private sector and other key stakeholders concerning the advantages of cryptocurrencies and safe methods to integrate them into the country’s economy.
However, Wekweta made no mention of the timeline on when the decision will be finalised and implemented. “Sooner or later, [the] government will make statements, but we have not gotten there yet. The consultative process is already underway,” he stated.
In the report, Wekweta also highlighted the Zimbabwean government’s scepticism in adopting cryptocurrencies in the country, stating that authorities around the world are still in the process of developing regulations for crypto assets, however, the implications of digital currencies are still unclear.
This is partly because crypto assets are a “fundamental departure from previously known financial instruments,” he remarked, further citing concerns around the cross-border movement of funds. He affirmed that money laundering and unauthorised flow of funds were among the factors that impelled Zimbabwean regulators, along with many others around the world, to cautiously deliberate about opening up to crypto.
Meanwhile, crypto adoption in Africa swelled 1,200 per cent in the 12 month period ending September, according to crypto data analytics firm Chainalysis, making it the third-fastest growing crypto economy in the world. Moreover, Zimbabwe ranked 61st for crypto adoption, the Chainalysis 2021 report noted.