Bitcoin and Crypto Payments Go Legal in Namibia

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The world is holding its breath over the future of cryptocurrencies, but some third-world countries are pretty open to the idea. The Central African Republic has already adopted cryptos as legal tender, and Namibia might soon join that list. According to the Bank of Namibia, digital currencies and assets as Bitcoin can be used for payments in the country without any restrictions.

While cryptos are far from legal tender in the African country, the Bank of Namibia says that merchants can accept digital assets. It’s a pretty big change considering that in 2018, the BoN was strongly against the use of cryptocurrencies in any form. Now, it hinted that further legal changes regarding digital currencies may be coming soon. All of it is consulted with the relevant authorities, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bitcoin goes legal tender in Namibia.

A 360 Turn

Like most central banks around the world, the Bank of Namibia was strongly against cryptocurrencies in the past. Around four years ago, it strongly advised Namibian residents to avoid using cryptocurrencies. Merchants were not allowed to accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies too, so this new suggestion are a complete reversal of the previous opinions.

However, the growth of virtual assets is what spurred the BoN to change its stance. The bank brought VAs and VASPs under the Fintech Innovations Regulatory Framework. It was a phased approach that took a while, and there’s still a lot of work to be done before cryptos go legal in Namibia. It will now consider applicable laws and regulations in consultation with relevant authorities to create sound framework for crypto payments.

Earlier this summer, the first Bitcoin ATM went live at the Maerua Mall in Windhoek. It started operating via the Crypto Kiosk which is legal in Namibia under all applicable laws. It’s safe to say that it was a big hit, which probably helped the BoN to better understand the concept and advantages of cryptocurrencies.

The Future of Money is at a Breaking Point

Johannes !Gawaxab, BoN’s Governor, says that the future of money is at an “inflexion point”. There’s an ongoing battle between regulated and unregulated money and sovereign and non-sovereign money. It’s clear that the financial system needs a reboot, and cryptocurrencies might be the answer. Sure, it doesn’t look like that right now with the extreme volatility, but more and more countries are seeing the potential Bitcoin and other cryptos bring.

!Gawaxab further explained that the essence of all currencies is the trust that it’s a safe and secure payments medium. He also said that central banks are the sole organization that is equipped with everything it needs to inspire confidence in such a medium.

To help deliver the laws and regulations that will overcome the legal challenges crypto payments bring, the BoN appointed two Africans and Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao members of its crypto board. It will work hard to tackle the most complex regulatory issues. Slowly, but surely, the project is moving forward, and before we know it, Namibia may join the Central African Republic and El Salvador on that exclusive list where Bitcoin is legal tender.

October 12, 2022: • No Comments

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