In March 2022, the Moroccan central bank had initiated talks with various monetary institutions, including the IMF and the World Bank with a view, to find better practices for regulating cryptocurrencies. A draft law is now available, according to the recent statement by the Central Bank governor. Morocco plans to present the said draft to stakeholders without further delay, before its implementation.
Central Bank begins discussions on Bitcoin bill
After a long battle against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank has decided to change its tune and now plans to regulate the sector. On December 21, the director of the central bank indeed declared that the bill was ready.
However, he intends to present it to the various market players for a final amendment before its implementation.
The Moroccan Central Bank will notably enter into discussion with the Moroccan Capital Markets Authority (AMMC) and the Insurance and Social Security Supervisory Authority (ACAPS).
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the fourth annual meeting of BAM (Bank Al-Maghrib), Abdellatif Jouahiri, the governor of the central bank, insisted that the bill is not intended to “limit innovation, but rather to protect users from the risks associated with cryptocurrencies which are highly volatile.”
For cryptocurrencies, I can assure you that the project is ready […], the different chapters are completed. We are currently engaged in the discussion with the different stakeholders. The process is long, but necessary to allow everyone to join this project.Statement by the Governor of the BAM
BAM will finally redeem itself!
Bitcoin and other cryptos have been banned in the Kingdom of Morocco since 2017. Using it is punishable under the country’s law and can result in imprisonment.
In October 2022, a court in Casablanca, a Moroccan city, sentenced a young entrepreneur to 18 months in prison and a fine of 3.4 million euros.
As you can see, the hostility of Moroccan authorities towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is very real, but why is Morocco now changing its mind?
Certainly, the decision to regulate cryptoassets was not an easy one for the BMA. According to a report by Triple A, about 0.9 million Moroccans, or 2.4% of the population, own cryptocurrencies despite its ban in the country. The Kingdom is currently a hub for Bitcoin adoption in the northern part of Africa.
In the face of such adoption, despite the crackdown, Bank Al-Maghrib is on the ropes. In March 2022, the BMA began consultations with various monetary institutions, seeking best practices for regulating cryptocurrencies.
It had also sought the advice of the IMF and the World Bank. It had also reportedly discussed the same topic with several Central Banks, including that of France, Sweden and Switzerland.
States like Nigeria have already understood that the ban on Bitcoin cannot prevent its adoption. On the contrary, it makes its publicity. It seems that Morocco has finally understood this, so we are eagerly awaiting the next steps.
Coming from a journalism university background, I came across Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies not long ago.
The potential of the Blockchain seduced me and I made it my research topic.