Report: Tanzania moves one step closer towards adopting cryptocurrencies

By: Daniela Kirova
Daniela Kirova
Daniela was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Chicago, and then moved to Michigan to attend the University of… read more.
on Jun 25, 2021
  • President of Tanzania believes crypto will inevitably arrive in the country
  • The central bank issued a ban on the volatile asset in November 2019, which may be overturned
  • Crypto welcome as the country is still heavily reliant on cash transactions

Tanzania is yet another country to show signs of embracing cryptocurrencies. The East African nation’s central bank is preparing for an advent of crypto following a directive of President Samia Suluhu Hassan. According to insiders, the 2019 ban on the digital asset could be reversed, Reuters reports.

President commends blockchain technology

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan succeeded John Magufuli, who passed away in March. Marking a policy shift on digital currencies, the new leader declared crypto will inevitably arrive in the country. During the opening of a new central bank branch, she said:

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“In the financial sector, we have witnessed the emergence of blockchain technology or cryptocurrency. Many countries in the world have not accepted or started using these currencies. However, I would like to advise the central bank to start working on those issues. Just be prepared.”

The central bank issued a ban on the volatile asset in November 2019, arguing that local law didn’t recognize it. In the wake of President Hassan’s comments, they are working on adapting the law. Tanzania is now one step closer to joining El Salvador, the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin (BTC/USD) as legal tender.

Bank is now ‘working on directives’

According to a Bank of Tanzania spokesperson, it is making gradual progress on the directives. The spokesperson did not reply when asked whether the country intended to issue its own digital currency or adopt existing ones, such as bitcoin.

Hassan is much more welcoming of the assets and of foreign investment in general unlike her late predecessor, who objected to gold mining by foreign companies and conflicted with Kenya over market access.

Her encouragement is supported by Tanzania Bankers’ Association chairman Abdulmajid Nsekela as the country is still heavily reliant on cash transactions. Nsekela said the biggest challenge facing regulators was innovations catching them by surprise. By preparing gradually, the central bank will be better able to estimate the risks and address them ahead of time.

However, tany timeline towards full adoption of Bitcoin or other cryptos at this point is unclear. Tellimer analyst Faith Mwangi has commented the president’s change in tone is clear, but everyone has yet to see if the central bank will take “concrete steps” towards embracing digital assets.

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