Namibia’s central bank says Bitcoin can be accepted as payment

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Namibia’s central bank says Bitcoin can be accepted as payment

Although cryp­tocur­ren­cies do not have the sta­tus of legal cash in Namib­ia, the country’s cen­tral bank, 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.”

The BON also high­light­ed in a state­ment issues towards the end of Sep­tem­ber that, although dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies such as Bit­coin (BTC) are still not legal­ly rec­og­nized, retail­ers and deal­ers may take mon­ey in this form if they are “will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in such an exchange or trade.”

Notably, the cen­tral bank said that it is con­tem­plat­ing mak­ing changes to “applic­a­ble laws and reg­u­la­tions dili­gent­ly in con­sul­ta­tion with oth­er rel­e­vant authorities.”

The bank’s new stance on dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies seems to indi­cate that the BON is warm­ing up to cryp­tocur­ren­cies. The cen­tral bank has pre­vi­ous­ly said:

It did “not recog­nise, sup­port and rec­om­mend the pos­ses­sion, util­i­sa­tion and trad­ing of cryp­tocur­ren­cies by mem­bers of the pub­lic.” The bank also warned Namib­ians there would be no legal recourse in the event they lost money.

Future of money an an ‘infection point’

In the announce­ment, Gov­er­nor Johannes Gawaxab of the BON, who has been known to be scep­ti­cal of cryp­tocur­ren­cies in the past, is report­ed as con­ced­ing that the future of mon­ey has reached a cru­cial junc­ture. He went on to explain: 

“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.”

Nonethe­less, Gawaxab argues that cen­tral bank dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies (CBD­Cs) pro­vide some­thing that pri­vate­ly issued or devel­oped dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies can­not. Nonethe­less, the BON gov­er­nor stressed that his insti­tu­tion, which is like­wise exam­in­ing and ana­lyz­ing the via­bil­i­ty of launch­ing a CBDC, would not hur­ry into it. 

“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,” said Gawaxab.

The BON also shared that it will be releas­ing a CBDC con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment in the month of October.

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