The adoption of cryptocurrency in Africa has been hiccuped with resistance from local governments as many countries are yet to figure out how to regulate it. However, it is becoming clear everyday that the wave of digital currencies seems unstoppable.
In the continent, only Central African Republic (CAR) has fully backed cryptocurrency by including it as part of its legal tender. Africa, like many other parts of the globe, has seen painful tales of scams perpetrated through cryptocurrencies. This is partly the reason why most countries are shy to adopt cryptocurrencies.
The industry which is still taking its baby steps is littered with regulatory challenges, leading many African countries to impose a blanket ban on crypto trading.
However, Ethiopia has taken a different approach to this. The country’s Central Bank has issued a directive ordering all cryptocurrency operators to register with the Information Network Security Administration (INSA) which is the national cybersecurity agency. The directive gave operators a 10-day window to comply.
This is contrary to a statement the Central Bank issued in June, terming crypto business in the country as illegal. This new move signals the government’s readiness to proactively engage in the development of the cryptocurrency industry while protecting its citizens from crypto-related crimes.
“There is interest among individuals and entities in providing crypto services including mining and transfer,” INSA said, warning traders who fail to comply that they would be prosecuted.
Ethiopia’s change of heart brings it to the same table as countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, where crypto trading thrives, albeit without clear guidelines.
With an estimated 1.8 million people trading in Bitcoin, the country ranks seventh among nations with the highest holding capacity in Africa.