Zimbabwe could be set to welcome cryptocurrency back in from the cold, with regulations planned that might lead to a reversal on the current banking ban. According to Zimbabwe newspaper The Chronicle, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is looking to draft guidelines that will allow cryptocurrency-handling entities to operate inside the law, potentially paving the way for banks to once again deal with them, following a ban that has been in place since 2018.
RBZ Finally Seeing the Light?
The RBZ banned banks from dealing with crypto-handling companies in May 2018, despite the central bank taking a much more crypto-positive line at the time. The legality of the plan was called into question at the time, with some in the industry claiming that it was unconstitutional:
What’s the reaction of finance, tech & ordinary people to the ban on cryptocurrencies? The legality of the ban is doubtful. It appears not to be based on any law or regulation, not to mention that it seems not to be reasonable, proportionate or fair as required by s68 of the Con. pic.twitter.com/YO7wLqfV8a
— Fadzayi Mahere ?? (@advocatemahere) May 15, 2018
According to The Chronicle, the RBZ may be on the verge of rowing back on the ban, claiming that the bank has realized that “the (crypto) trend is a reality” and has “stressed the need to regulate such practices.”
The paper adds that the country has seen a surge in fintech growth since the ban, including in the crypto sector, and the bank seems to have finally realized it is doing more harm than good by simply banning crypto outright.
RBZ To Offer Guidance to Crypto Companies
The Chronicle quotes RBZ Deputy Director for Financial Markets and National Payment Systems, Josephat Mutepfa, as saying that said any regulations would include vetting through a regulatory sandbox so as to meet requirements:
Once you enter the sandbox you either exist as a bonafide product to enter the market or you are guided to say that you need to partner a bank, a mobile money platform or your product needs to be licensed like a microfinance company.
The positive news comes less than a week after the Indian Supreme Court overturned a similar ban on banks in the country, suggesting that world banks are finally waking up to the fact that cryptocurrency is not simply a fad that will go away in time, and that working with providers rather than fighting them can benefit everybody in the long run.