RBZ warns Zimbabweans against Bitcoin use, says regulation for cryptocurrency isn’t ready

Josephat Mutepfa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean financial services

RBZ director Josephat Mutepfa 

Local financial services regulator the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has warned Zimbabweans of the risks associated with Bitcoin.

At the Mobile Money & Digital Payments Conference, Josephat Mutepfa, the RBZ’s Director of National Payments pointed out that while cryptocurrencies might be a global phenomenon and there might be a number of Bitcoin initiatives that now offer specific services in Zimbabwe, the central bank hasn’t devised regulation for cryptocurrency.

As such, citizens who use it could be exposed to risks associated with untraceable transactions. Bitcoin, one of the most popular examples of blockchain technology provides holders with a virtual currency alternative and some startups have been offering services through Bitcoin.

Examples include Bitmari, a service that facilitates remittances to Zimbabwe in the form of Bitcoin.

Citing cases of collapsed Bitcoin exchanges, Mutepfa emphasised how the regulator’s stance was influenced by the need for a cautionary approach, especially with the risks associated with Bitcoin as unregulated alternative.


  1. Meh

    Fair enough. But it would have been nice if they had backed up the warning with Zim or region specific data on the impact of those collapses and bitcoin in general. That way, it wouldn’t seem like they got caught napping by the existence of crypto currencies.

    1. Ashbel Ndewere

      The risk is there for as long as there is no regulation.He gave examples of platforms that collapsed in Japan.

  2. Anonymous

    Utter Rubish –

    One of the things that people love about Bitcoin is the Un-tractability – RBZ wants to start thinking about BITCOIN, a cryptocurrency something that is less that 7 years old and built on tech they can barely understand, when they can manage a currency they have had and controlled for 28YEARS –

    baby steps please –

  3. Victor

    As usual Mutepfa and team RBZ are behind the trend. Should people stop using crypto-currency because Zim is not ready or should they hit the ground running trying to create the necessary safeguards. Its the same disease that killed Paypal here.

  4. Macd Chip

    Im not a advocate for bitcoin, l do not really fancy it but thats not a reason to slam it. RBZ needs to catch up with times, understand whats going on and give informed infor.

  5. TheKing

    Couldn’t more agree with all comments above, different views on the same truth

  6. Langton

    They are stuck in the old ways of doing things! Change or you will be changed!

  7. tinm@n

    The rest of the world is moving towards regulation.

    The question is the level of regulation and exactly what they will control.

  8. Tawanda Kembo

    I work for one of the few bitcoin startups in Zim. The good thing is that there’s no prohibition and there’s going to be no regulation for a while. As a startup, that’s good news for us – a space that’s unregulated, unprohibited and won’t be regulated for a while is the entrepreneur’s sweet spot.

    I do agree though with the regulator that people should be cautionary. Let’s not forget that bitcoin is a huge experiment which may or may not fail. I’m a big believer myself, but I also understand the risks. Although I’ve invested more time and money into bitcoin than i could afford to lose, i wouldn’t advise anyone to invest i more in bitcoin than they can afford to lose.

    1. mokgadi Machaba

      Good Day Tawanda
      please can you provide me with your email i would like to discuss bitcoin and blockchain more

  9. Len

    Well what on earth were the RBZ waiting for. They should have at least been pro-active and started looking at this ages ago. If Zimbabweans are already into Bitcoin startups like my brother Tawanda above then the Central Bank of all people, should have already been on the ball. at the very least asking the question: “What regulation do we need (if any) for new area of business?”
    Its not like they are overloaded with work. We don’t have our own currency so their money supply control responsibility is at a standstill. Now they are looking at designs for a new stable when the stallion has jumped the fence and is mounting the neighbours horse two houses down the road. (Ummm…did I carry this metaphor too far???)
    I also agree that we have to be careful with any internet transactions AND currencies. But this is my point – they should be watching trends, learning then educating us.

    They need to come up with some guidelines chop chop

  10. KudaOnline

    Bitcoins are designed to serve its purpose. The use of bitcoins is increasing in Zimbabwe. son it willbe the talk of the town

  11. Brian Munanga

    Bitcoin is the future currency and blockchain the future banks.Bitcoin is becoming increasingly popular. I am also working on a bitcoin startup that is coming out soon.bitcoin provides entrepreneurial opportunities despite its fluctuating nature in price

    1. mokgadi Machaba

      Come and join us big discussion on Blockchain and bitcoin on the 15-17 February 2017 at
      Southern Sun OR Tambo International Johannesburg
      Contact Mokgadi
      011 341 1000

  12. Lenox

    Authorities should realize that the new global economy I here to stay. Whether you was to remain in the Jurassic Age or embrace the trends. The need to control is not of this age. Regrettably, fossils will never realize this even if it slapped them in the face.

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