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While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies still do not enjoy the status of legal cash in Namibia, the Bank of Namibia (BON) has announced that it has now included “virtual assets (VA) and virtual assets service providers (VASP) under its Fintech Innovations Regulatory Framework in a phased approach, through its innovation hub.”
Bitcoin is still not recognised as legal tender in Namibia, but the country’s central bank in a recent innovation hub announcement said that retailers and traders can accept money in this form if they are willing to engage in such activities and exchange or trade and are ready to assume the risks inherent to digital currencies. The BON also added that after careful consulting with its relevant authorities, it is considering revising appropriate laws and regulations. The Namibian central bank has long been opposed to cryptocurrencies and said that it does not recognise, support, or advise the public’s ownership, use, or trade of cryptos, but this most recent statement suggests that the BON may be more accepting of them. Although it has relaxed its views on cryptocurrencies, the central bank has however said to the country’s citizens that it would offer no legal recourse should they suffer financial losses associated with cryptocurrencies. In previous statements, the BON said:
It did “not recognise, support and recommend the possession, utilisation and trading of cryptocurrencies by members of the public.”
Governor of the BON, Johannes Gawaxab, who has long been a skeptic of crypto, has even conceded that the future of money has reached a critical turning point, and said:
The future of money is at an inflection point. The battle between regulated and unregulated money on the one hand, and sovereign versus non-sovereign money on the other.
BON Is Open to a CBDC
Gawaxab however argues that central bank digital currencies offer something that privately issued digital currencies do not. He added that the BON is examining the viability of issuing a CBDC, but made it clear that it would not be rushed into doing so:
If CBDCs are explored and implemented with due care and caution, they could hold immense potential benefit for a more stable, safer, more widely available, and less expensive means of payment than private forms of digital money.
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