Mthuli Expresses Interest In Cryptocurrency For Zimbabwe

Finance and economic development minister, Mthuli Ncube has expressed interest in the adoption of cryptocurrency for use in investment and transactions in Zimbabwe following his recent visits to Dubai and New York.

The minister whose Global Investor Roadshow took him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week visited the DMCC crypto center in Dubai, which he described as “a fascinating incubation hub for cryptocurrency and payment solutions.”

The center offers a co-working space for all types and sizes of crypto businesses, from companies developing blockchain-enabled trading platforms to firms offering, issuing, listing, and trading crypto assets.

Although he did not explicitly show outright interest in the adoption of cryptocurrency then the minister said he had come across solutions there that could significantly reduce remittance charges from the diaspora.

Yesterday, however, after attending SALT New York, an event aiming to connect leading asset managers and entrepreneurs, investment advisors and policy experts, the minister tweeted that “crypto-assets will keep growing as an investment class. The prognosis is that investors will hold more and more crypto assets in future. Let’s prepare for it.”

That was not the first time Ncube passed such remarks, last year too, he stressed the need to understand the technology of Bitcoin and to follow in the footsteps of countries like Switzerland that that were investing in cryptos.

His recent interest follows the government’s backslide on their anti-crypto stance and ban that was enacted in 2018 giving a directive to banks and financial institutions to stop processing transactions to do with Cryptos in a bid apparently “protect the public and safeguard the integrity, safety and soundness of the country’s financial system.”

Instead, from March 2020 the government resolved to rather regulate cryptos and a few days later they inked a deal with Apollo Fintech, a blockchain company to develop and launch a gold-backed digital currency that will give citizens Apollo wallets for digital payments.

Zimbabwe also has its own blockchain companies such as Flex FinTx which are pushing for the finance ministry to localize such initiatives by partnering and funding them.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in March also launched a financial technology (Fintech) regulatory sandbox which is meant to be alive, controlled environment meant to allow inventors and innovators in the Fintech sector to successfully test their products and services without compromising the safety of consumers and the traditional financial sector.

 However, crypto innovations were ruled not eligible for the sandbox which is counterproductive as crypto innovations could be a big part of the solution to overhaul the country’s suffering financial sector.

Meanwhile, El Savador last week became the first country in the world to render bitcoin as legal tender and Central Banks in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa are coming together to test the use of multiple central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) on a shared platform for cross border payments and settlement led by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub in Singapore.