Norman Mataruka, one of the top executives of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, issued a circular yesterday addressed to financial institutions in the country prohibiting them from trading and operating with cryptocurrencies as well as from registering accounts of people who trade in cryptocurrencies, giving them a maximum of 60 days to finalize their business with any of these exchanges.
Mr. Mataruka explains in the circular issued on May 11, 2018, that the opening of accounts in cryptocurrency exchanges, investments, and uses of any virtual currencies are currently forbidden:
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not authorized or licensed any person or entity or exchange for the issuance, sale, purchase, exchange or investment in any virtual currencies/coins/tokens in Zimbabwe. Exchanges such as Bitfinance (Private) Limited (Golix) and Styx24 are not licensed or regulated by the Reserve Bank … As Monetary Authorities, the Reserve Bank is the custodian of public trust and has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of payment systems.”
According to information provided by Newsday Reports, John Mangudya, governor of RBZ’s bank, also warned locals about trading in cryptocurrency. He says that BitFinance company – or Golix, which is the name under which they operate – is not licensed or regulated by the institution, and also said the RBZ would continue to monitor regional and global cryptocurrency developments to inform the policy direction.
“Any person who buys, sells, or otherwise transacts in cryptocurrencies, whether online, or otherwise, does so at their own risk and will have no recourse to the Reserve Bank or to any regulatory authority in the country,”
To avoid any doubts, the official stance is that “banking services would include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, clearing, collateral arrangements, remittances, payment, and settlement accounts, giving loans against virtual tokens.”
The position and measures that the RBZ will take after the 60th day that they are giving to financial institutions and individuals to cease their investment activities and use of cryptocurrencies are still unknown.
These policies and restrictions continue to be the day to day for cryptos around the world, affecting a large extent local users who are looking for ways to invest their money in currencies with lower inflation than their local currencies, no matter how speculative the trading such tokes may be.
Bitcoin was so successful in Zimbabwe that Golix quickly gained a trading volume of over 1 million dollars, having transactions settled at prices 2x higher than the normal worldwide rates