The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has initiated studies of blockchain technology with a view to subsequently embrace the technology and integrate it into the bank’s business processes, local news outlet NewsDay reported July 5.
Speaking at the Alpha Media Holdings’ Banks and Banking breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday, RBZ governor John Mangudya reportedly said that the bank is looking to embrace the technology. He stated that central banks in a number of countries, including China, the U.S., U.K., and South Africa have been considering blockchain deployment for their own activities. Mangudya continued:
“I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin… and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology.”
Mangudya noted that the bank’s work on blockchain is driven by the desire not to be left out on an important technological development, while stressing the need for a cautious approach. He added:
“What we are against as I have always said is to do things which are not regulated because we need to know where these bitcoins are being mined and do want to hunt them. So while we want to embrace things, we need to know where they are coming from. If you embrace mobile banking platforms we know that there is a trust account.”
In May, Zimbabwe’s central bank issued a circular ordering all financial institutions to stop providing service to cryptocurrency exchanges and liquidate existing crypto-related accounts. The director and registrar of financial institutions Norman Mataruka explained his decision, stating that the RBZ has an “obligation to safeguard the integrity of payment systems”, which the central bank is not prepared to provide for crypto.
In November of last year, RBZ announced that the use of Bitcoin (BTC) was considered illegal in the country. Mataruka then said that the use of “Bitcoin … is not actually legal” within the country’s jurisdiction.