Justin Bgoni, CEO of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) said that its subsidiary, which has been licensed recently, is open to listing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The subsidiary is known as the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange. But, according to reports by local media, any listing of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies would be dependent on whether the digital currency issuers are able to get ‘regulatory approval’. No details were provided in the report about the requirements that need to be met by cryptocurrency issuers for getting their respective tokens listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange.
In addition, there are also some people in the small crypto community in Zimbabwe who are still a bit skeptical about the announcement, particularly because it is not the regulators who have made it. There are also people who believe that the statements attributed to the officials of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange only reveal the limited understanding that people have about decentralized currencies, such as Bitcoin. A blockchain enthusiast and a financial services lawyer, Prosper Mwedzi, also reacted to this news. He remained cautiously optimistic regarding this plan and said that the fact they were talking about cryptocurrencies should be taken as a positive thing.
He added that there was no need to be concerned because they had mentioned regulatory clearance. He noted that there was a fintech policy being followed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), but they hadn’t come up with a crypto policy. Mwedzi said that it was the responsibility of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) to manage the exchanges and they hadn’t said anything in regard to crypto as yet. He also said that Zimbabwe has not taken the same route as other African countries, such as Nigeria, which only recently classified cryptocurrencies as securities.
The central bank of the country had issued a notice back in 2018 in which it warned Zimbabweans to steer clear of the risk presented by cryptocurrencies. In the same year, the central bank had also forced the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange at that time, called Golix. However, the statements that have been issued by the central bank since late 2019 indicate that there has been a change in their stance on cryptocurrencies, along with other emerging financial technologies. This is not very different from the way other countries have also changed their stance about cryptocurrencies recently.
Nevertheless, these statements have not led to any changes or amendments being made to the relevant crypto regulations. Still, Mwedzi is of the opinion that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange may have kicked the ball in SECZ’s court and it now depends on them to decide whether they want to be proactive in this regard or not. Hence, it remains to be seen whether the statements by the officials of the ZSE will nudge regulators into accepting and recognizing cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Most countries are realizing the potential of these digital currencies, especially during times like the coronavirus pandemic, and are slowly introducing regulations to control them.