As the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is in the middle of putting out allegations of it being involved in the illegal trading of foreign currency in the black markets, it has decided to clear out its name from another booming activity of trading demonetized Zimbabwe Dollar Notes (ZDN). ZDN have been popular among collectors, partly because of their absurd denominations which included billion and trillion dollar notes. Put simply, these ZDN are ‘collector’s items’. Accordingly, there has been a thriving market for buying and selling these notes.
Therefore RBZ is dissociating itself from partaking in this ‘market’ while also informing the public that it will play no part in determining the authenticity of these circulating ZDN. Here is what the central bank said;
PURPORTED SALE OF DEMONETISED ZIMBABWE DOLLAR NOTES
It has come to the attention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the “Bank”) that there are certain persons who are purportedly buying or selling, or trading in, demonetized Zimbabwe Dollar Notes in and outside the country. There are also reports and videos circulating on social media concerning such sale or trade.
The Bank completely dissociates itself from such purported sale and trade of the demonetized Zimbabwe Dollar notes. The Bank is not aware of the source of the notes being sold and cannot vouch for the genuineness or otherwise of the said notes. The Bank also advises the public that any demonetized Zimbabwe dollar notes that the Bank may have in stock are not for sale.
The Bank will therefore not be responsible for any consequences arising from the buying or selling of, or trading in, demonetized Zimbabwe Dollar notes.
Why RBZ released this statement
Instinctively I wondered why the RBZ decided to release this statement because this type of trade (selling and buying of ZDN) has been around for some years. From the top of my head, I thought maybe there is another conspiracy theory gaining momentum that’s implicating the central bank to be involved in this trade too which got its attention. Or maybe it is just pre-empting such allegations, right?
However, on face value (with reference to the press statement), it seems the primary reason (s) the RBZ has decided to state its position voice is that its probably receiving numerous buying offers and also at times it’s being asked to validate the authenticity of notes by buyers and sellers of ZDN.
Is it illegal to trade demonetized Zimbabwe Dollar Notes?
The major highlight of this statement (although it’s not in the text) is that the buying and selling of demonetized ZDN is not illegal. There is no mention of any illegality in this activity. The central bank is just implying that those involved in this trade will have no recourse (from the RBZ) should they be duped.
Will it ever be illegal?
The question as to whether the central bank will maintain its indifference or not to this kind of trade is the one that sprang to (my) mind. Well, I can draw my conclusion by looking at what happened to cryptocurrencies. At first, RBZ was indifferent and said something like what it said in the above statement (not offering recourse if you are duped in cryptocurrency trading) but later it defaulted to the outright banning of cryptocurrencies, which naturally led to Golix’s death. So if I am asked if the RBZ will ever ban trading demonetized ZDN, I would say: Yes one day it may ban it.