The Fate Of Some Zimbabwean Companies And Projects After The Central Bank Bans Cryptocurrencies

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The RBZ decided that they would wash their hands when it comes to cryptos. The central bank sent a directive to banks instructing them to cut all their ties with crypto exchanges and this may have grave consequences in the long run. As a nation, we had a serious opportunity to adopt a technology whilst it was still in its infancy but judging from the RBZ’s position it seems there won’t be any of that going forward.

The domino effect that could come as a result of this directive could be heartbreaking to watch as we’ll see other nations benefit from ideas that we had gotten a front row ticket.

Golix Going To SA…

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Golix recently announced they would be opening an office in SA. I don’t think the decision to move into new territory was motivated by the RBZs stance (Golix probably had no idea this was going to be the Central Bank’s stance) but now that this is the case there could be serious motivation for them to just relocate and move their project out of Zim.

VFC to Zambia?

A few months ago we talked about Vic Falls Coin, and these guys were trying to come up with a token that would be used within the Vic Falls Community –on both the Zim and Zambian side- but now that things are getting sticky in Zimbabwe, it might end up just being done on the Zambian side. Regardless of whether the project succeeds or fails there are lessons to be learnt and by being a part of these things we would have had so much more perspective, but it seems the central bank wants no part in any of that.

What happens to Wala?

As recently as last week there were developments on the crypto front, as the Dala Foundation was bringing their wallet app Wala and the crypto (Dala), which is managed in that app, to Zimbabwe. Dala has apparently been gaining traction in Uganda and has now been launched in Zimbabwe and SA. Now with banks being given the directive to stop facilitating the payments of anyone who is dealing in cryptos it will make it very difficult for the Dala foundation to stay in Zimbabwe in the face of a resistant authority.

Agribank had led the banking sector

Agribank was the first bank in Zimbabwe to have any cryptocurrency or blockchain related activity. They partnered with the bitcoin remittance company, Bitmari to offer blockchain supported remittance service for diaspora remittances. Now of course Agribank has to terminate that relationship and Bitmari really is left in the cold.

Bitmari also ran a pilot with farmers trying to solve financing issues using blockchain. Now, dololo…

…. And Goldchip?

We also talked about the mining company that was in the process of an ICO. After buying their token Goldchip would give out 5% of the Goldchip Investments profits for each respective quarter. Their ICO was supposed to start in early June but now there is a possibility that the public might actually not be too enthused to invest in something that the authorities are distancing themselves from.

A missed opportunity

All these projects were not going to be guaranteed successes BUT they would have afforded us (Zimbabweans) the opportunity to learn more about this technology and an opportunity to learn what is viable and what isn’t. Now that the RBZ has taken this definite stance, there is little scope for growth.

The fact that so many companies were attempting to get into this technology from here was an advantage and now that this directive will dissuade any new innovators with ideas based on Cryptos from coming into the country. This is a scenario where we could have been leaders in Africa, or at least somewhere close to the top but now if crypto really is indeed the next big thing we are going to be trailing other countries that have less rigid outlooks on virtual currencies.

Zimbabwe has already become a digital economy (due to circumstances and NOT by design) so adoption of virtual currencies is something that people would have bought into and would have been willing to be educated upon if need be. It’s baffling that the country would go down this route in a country where a majority of the population would not be horrified at the idea of a virtual currency to begin with.

Are we really open for business?

At a time where the national mantra has been “Zimbabwe is open for business”, this is a very rigid move that contradicts that whole motto. As indicated in an earlier article, the better and more careful way of dealing with this would have been by trying to gain an understanding and then trying to find a way to regulate these currencies. Being on the extreme side in any situation is never really a good idea.

Yes the RBZ was right to have concerns and I don’t think they should have thrown all caution to the wind and embraced Cryptos recklessly but I also don’t think they should have gone for an outright ban.

RBZGolix

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is the central bank of Zimbabwe. Its offices are located at number 80 Samora Machel Avenue in Harare. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe operates under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, Chapter 22: 15 of 1964. The Act provides... Read More About RBZ

Golix is a Cryptocurrencies exchange in Zimbabwe. Golix was founded in December 2014 and was initially called BitFinance while their exchange was called Bitcoin Fundi. The company was founded by Tawanda Kembo and Verengai Mabika. In May 2018, Golix was ordered to shut down operations... Read More About Golix

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13 Comments

  1. Van Lee Chigwada says:

    This article stresses RBZs point: Crypto-C is not stable.

    Now we have VFC on top of the 1,000 already existing currencies.

    There are ~200 government backed currencies in the known world. But we have ~2K Crypto-Cs and that is a good thing?

    That kind of fragmentation makes Richard Cantillon turn 7 times an hour in his grave. It’s unheard of.

  2. Brendon says:

    One needs to not just count currencies in the world , One must count all the listed companies and all contracts in the world such as a rental agreement or bill of laden etc. as many of these tokens represent one of the above and many more trust agreements

  3. Nice says:

    Really this article was trying to convince us that we losing out… But the reverse has been done… We can’t be used as a guinea pig in such a fragile economy…rbz is spot on… Is like we bring on all these things when there are far better tried and trusted solutions… Is time techzim lost the bias… It’s so glaring… Just check all the headlines over the last few days… Too extreme… All those ppl who say golix is zimbo… News flash they were going to go to another country long time ago… They were only using the premium… In SA there no premium let’s see how they do

  4. Ryan says:

    Both of the comments above seem to imply that the State knows what is best for us, and keeps our interests at heart in their decisions. If you really believe that you should take a good look around you. This place is run by short-sighted fools who are in it for the money. The RBZ has stolen the money out of my bank account several times, and is doing it as we speak. They simply don’t understand how to extract money out of cryptocurrencies yet, therefore they have banned it, forcing everyone back to their system that profits them greatly, every day that they are allowed to continue.

    Ask yourself why the cash shortages persist – someone is making money from it, that’s why. That same group profiteering off this dreadful situation is the group making up the rules.

  5. Bibistole says:

    When you think about it, in BTC trading, as a country we do not lose any foreign currency. When I buy BTC via RTGS I am simply transferring this money to a local account, someone that would hve received BTC from a foreign exchange.Although the influx of forex is reduced, there is actual creation of demand for our ZWRTGS coin as compared to when cash comes in then leaves after it is smuggled. Some banks have adopted cryptocurrencies that are less volatile such as Tether and Ripple. These coins allow faster transfers. Why should I wait 3 days for TT when we have the technolgy to make a transaction happen in 30 minutes. RBZ please be reasonable.

    1. John says:

      There is no bank in the world using tether, infact tether is treated with skepticism by crypto community with suspicions that it is not backed by anything and is in fact a fractional reserve system which could collapse any day.

      Ripple on another note is struggling to get adopted by banks with only a few having signed on in principle.

  6. sg says:

    looks like anyone can start his/her one currency

    i want my own currency

  7. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

    I like they way the article frames Bitcoin as being something big in the economy. With the exception of Bitmari, what significant use was there for in Zimbabwe? Besides, buying and selling Bitcoin, no-one is acceptiing payments in Bitcoin. It was largely being used as a speculative store of value, and money laundering, with no positive contribution to the economy.

    You can’t expect the RBZ to embrace virtual currencies just because it’s digital, and everything is now digital. By the same token we should also also porn websites, it’s digital hey, and I sure there’s a significant number of people who wouldn’t object to it.

    One of the reasons RBZ is not endorsing virtual currencies is because their values are arbitrary, which most people do not understand. For example, Bitcoins value shot up for no solid reason, and could easily fall by the same margin. And **if** that happens, the same people who haven’t heeded the RBZs warning are still going to run to the RBZ crying that XYZ Bitcoin Exchange said that the $1000 they invested in BTC is now $100, help me get my money back. If that happens, the RBZ can rightly point their press statement and say, “Sorry, we warned you!”.

    I personally don’t feel sorry for any affected companies/startups. It was poor decision making to start a virtual currency related business when you already knew the financial regulators stance to begin it. Heed warnings, don’t be like kaylite manufacturers ;), and react in good time.

  8. Gibson Nyathi says:

    This is what happens in a country where economic policy and the financial services industry is managed by economic dinossaurs, who are completely out of touch with global technological trends in the financial services industry. I daresay, more worrying is that this policy decision betrays abysmal technical ignorance on the part of RBZ, which carries more profound dangers for the economic future of this country. What has undermined public trust in the Zimbabwe financial services system during the last 20 years more than shenanigans at RBZ – wholesale default on repayment of international loan obligations in 1999 without any serious attempt to re-nogotiate payment terms, liquidation of FCAs, introduction of bearer cheques & bond notes? The list goes on. Can anyone at RBZ stand up and tell citizens of this country of just one high value-adding economic policy initiative undertaken by the RBZ during the last 20 years, which has had long term positive amd lasting economic impact? Watch out Zimbabweans; you are on a slippery pathway to nowhere with this RBZ team! The same team legally mandated to advise Govt on sound and impactful economic policies has achieved endless negatives during the last 20 years. Encouraging and promoting economic delinquency, resulting in wholesale economic dysfunction during the last 20 years is in evidence for those who have eyes to see and brains to critically analyse cuases of national econoomic malaise.
    Notably, during the GNU years when the RBZ had crippled itself to total ineffectiveness, the economy boomed without it. No sooner did it regain its effective powers that it resumed on its ruinous path, introducing dysfunctional bond notes on the basis of fake & false economic justifications.
    Now the same team, instead of handling the emerging dynamic issue of cryptocurrencies with imagination ansd skill, as other central banks are doing around the world, decides to swim against global risk management best practices, demonstrating that RBZ is out of its depth technically, and dismally fails to grasp an elementary economic and investment principle, namely, that its decision is tantamount to attemting to shut off the internet – an exercise in utter futility (some would say, stupudity) – and that fundamentally the Market decides what constitutes Money, not dinossaur bureacrats pretending to be bankers who have the temerity to seek to convince all and sundry that bond notes have par value with the US Dollar, the most traded currency in the world today. Bureauctrats who do not keep abreast with international technological changes that apply to financial services worldwide have been dragging Zimbabwe’s financial services sector back to the 20th century.
    Mr President, if you needed further evidence that it is long overdue for a total overhaul of RBZ management from top to bottom, and infusion of new professional blood, this is it. Your mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” has just been seriously undermined by RBZ management which is unable to admit that it does not have requisite skills for today’s fast changing and globalized financial services sector.
    In effect. the RBZ decision on cryptocurrencies hardly “protects the public and safeguards the integrity, safety and soundness of the country’s financial system” but achieves the very opposite. It derives citizens of participating in gainful but risky investments. Admission by RBZ that bond notes & shenanigans around it have contributed more to destabilizing and undermining public trust and confidence in the financial services system than the likely feared impact of trading in cryptocurrencies is what is required at this point in time. Anyone with a sound understanding of risk management will readily admit to this practical reality. What the RBZ ought to be doing as a matter of priority is fostering the adoption and implementation of robust & creative measures aimed at improving and enhancing risk management skills in Zimbabwe’s sickly financial services industry. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay as an integral part of the global financial services industry, whether the RBZ LIKES THIS REALITY OR NOT.

    1. Ryan says:

      Hear hear.

  9. Thomas says:

    Back in 2012 I even
    suggested that as Zimbabwe we should use Bitcoin for our
    exports as Bitcoin exchange price is always higher than the US$, just compare the price of 1BTC in 2012 and now. Now if our gold, diamonds etc.. had been exported with payments in Bitcoin I am sure we could be out of debt by now but hey some of these politicians only have their minds in their pockets.

    Sorry to my folks but as Zimbos I know this is just a challenge we can overstep in a bit.
    Have just published my special report on Bitcoin and
    Cryptocurrencies, hope if the governer also reads it he will
    then reverse his decision.

    You can get it from my blog at bitcryptoguide.blogpost.com or
    simply go to my Twitter @Bitcoinguide2

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

      Poor economics on your part, the exchange rate is not what gets you out of debt. China is owned money by a lot of countries including the United States, but what is the exchange rate of the Yuan to the US Dollar. You have also presumed the once we were paid for our minerals in BTC in 2012 we would have just sat on them waiting for an undefined amount of time (5 years in this case) for the value to shoot up. That’s impractical!

      Seeing how much foresight you had, I assume you are a millionaire now. If you could foresee this increase in BTC value, even if you borrowed money from a bank at 18% interest per annum, you’d have made a killing. Hindsight is 20/20.

      1. Thomas says:

        Well my bro, those 1st world countries you hear and read about are sitting on reserves of gold, diamonds, oil, currencies etc.. for a reason even if it means keeping that stock for 10 years as the price goes up and down.

        Here I am saying if our earnings came in BTC then definitely no doubt, we will have a very positive balance to even forget about the cash crises we have now.

        Well that’s the nature of investing, trading etc… to make more out of the initial investment over a period of time.

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