Zimbabwe’s central bank frowns at digital currency and previously ordered all banks to stop processing transactions involving digital currencies, such as BTC and other altcoins in 2017. They termed it as “the currency of choice for money launderers and other criminals.” However, in 2020, there were media reports that the government-owned CBZ Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with Apollo FinTech to launch a gold-backed digital currency.
Interestingly, there is still a ban on all digital currency transactions in the country. Millions of Zimbabweans live abroad and send money home regularly, but they incur high remittance costs, up to 20% cost of their money.
New hopes for digital currency in Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube recently commended the potential of lowering remittance fees via decentralized finance (DeFi). The minister tweeted, “I visited the DMCC Crypto Centre in Dubai, which is a fascinating incubation hub for crypto currency and payment solutions, I came across solutions that could lower charges for diaspora remittances.”
I visited the DMCC CRYPTO CENTRE in Dubai, which is a fascinating incubation hub for crypto currency and payment solutions. Came across solutions that could lower charges for diaspora remittances. pic.twitter.com/krhW8EJHLE
— Prof. Mthuli Ncube (@MthuliNcube) September 9, 2021
Dubai’s DMCC Crypto Centre is an incubation hub that offers payment and digital currency solutions. Many digital currency supporters see hope for digital currency in Ncube’s tweet, but some are skeptical if the Zimbabwe government is going to reverse its ban on digital currency transactions.
In September 2018, when Ncube became finance minister, digital currency enthusiasts were optimistic that he would reduce the restrictions imposed on digital currency trading and encourage the use of digital currencies.
William Chui, co-founder of now-defunct digital currency exchange Golix, told the press, “When he joined government, he was bullish about cryptocurrencies.”
The Chief Director of communications for the Ministry of Finance, Clive Mphambela also recently said on the use of blockchain, “with disruptive blockchain technology, the cost can come down significantly. The uses of blockchain are far wider than just crypto. We even have a sandbox group to analyze the use of blockchain tech in Zimbabwe created by the Reserve Bank.”
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