In a surprising turn of events, it seems the RBZ is finally warming up to cryptos. It took the President appointing a new Minister of Finance and said Minister of Finance stating his affinity for cryptos, but here we are.
Mangudya was one of the officials who recently travelled to the US and during a Bloomberg interview he was asked “What role do you think the cryptocurrency could have at the central bank?” to which he replied:
Ah! I’m on record of saying that Zimbabwe is not new to cryptocurrencies. Basically, it’s an electronic dollar… electronic money. Our RTGS’ that we have got in Zimbabwe are basically electronic money, which is akin or similar to a cryptocurrencies so we are only using those as a nature but otherwise we are studying them as the central bank.
… I’m not entirely sure what that quote means but as many thought; the Central bank is not well versed with cryptocurrencies. To say that cryptos are similar to RTGS’ is quite baffling and it begs the question has the RBZ really shifted their stance or was Mangudya playing the role of the dancing monkey to please foreigners?
Well, a few things could be happening here…
RBZ really changing their stance
At the end of the interview, Mangudya stated that the RBZ’s Fintech group was studying crypto’s. Now, this could be a very real thing but it’s a bit strange when you consider that the central bank categorically stated that cryptocurrencies are not welcome in Zimbabwe. The RBZ made it clear that cryptos were endangering the public. Of course, this was months ago and things change but considering that the RBZ is in an ongoing legal battle with Golix (Zimbabwe’s largest -and only- cryptocurrency exchange) they don’t seem to be portraying a pro-crypto stance. It would be unfair to speak of all this and not mention that the RBZ has always had a soft spot for the blockchain. They like the blockchain, what they have a problem with are the cryptos not the tech behind them…
RBZ playing to the tune of Mthuli Ncube
Chinamasa was the previous Finance Minister and (with all due respect) it’s safe to assume the guy wasn’t too knowledgeable about cryptos either. This put Mangudya in a perfect position to rebuke the digital currencies and take the stance that the RBZ took back in April.
Things have changed a bit over the past few weeks… The President announced a new cabinet and with that came a new Finance Minister; Mthuli Ncube.
Mthuli Ncube seems to have some positive perceptions when it comes to cryptos. He urged the RBZ to take up people knowledgeable in the sector and create regulation for cryptos. This puts Mangudya and his bank in a bit of a weird place. After vehemently denouncing cryptos, they now have a new senior who seems to be very interested in cryptos… Keeping the RBZ’s stance could be suicide for Mangudya and thus the RBZ has to act as if they have been fans of crypto’s all along and start embracing them going forward.
RBZ = the dancing monkey
Mangudya could have been trying to appear as the cool kid who keeps up with the times when he was faced with the question of cryptos. In a bid to look as if he understands cryptos and current trends, Mangudya went on record and acted as if the RBZ has always been of the belief that cryptos are great when the opposite is true. The problem with this is that if the RBZ really did believe they were “protecting the public” when they banned cryptos, then there should be no reason for him to go abroad and act as if cryptos are good. The response given to Bloomberg is an indicator of what we feared; the RBZ banned something they didn’t fully understand and now they have to go outside the country and contradict themselves when the truth is on record because, well, the internet never forgets…