Cryptocurrency business not illegal, CBK President says

Trade in cryptocurrency has not been outlawed in Kenya as there are no regulatory frameworks currently in place, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has now said.

It has, however, maintained that the cryptocurrency remains an illegal tender in the country.

Appearing before a parliamentary Ad hoc committee inquiring into the activities of Worldcoin, CBK Governor Kamau Thugge submitted that as an institution, they have no mandate with the licensing or regulation.

“To my knowledge, trade-in cryptocurrency has not been made illegal in Kenya and so the fact that there is trade in it is not itself illegal,” said Thugge.

He said the only concerns they have had as a country in seeking to address emerging challenges surrounding it was on the risks which includes fears of money laundering and terrorism financing.

To protect Kenyans from its vulnerability, Thugge disclosed that as a monetary authority, they have issued notices to warn about its trade-in it.

“When the issue of crypto became more prominent in the country in 2015, CBK issued a public notice warning Kenyans to be careful of the new legal asset whose owners were unknown and a public institution that is behind it,” he stated.

In the same year, he added, CBK issued another circular to commercial banks warning them against involving themselves in virtual assets.

“In 2018, together with other regulatory agencies, we issued another notice warning Kenyans not to deal with financial products and services that have not been licensed, so we have never licensed cryptocurrency or bitcoin,” he remarked.

Thugge who also appeared on behalf of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u further highlighted steps that have been taken so far to embrace digital currency in the country.