The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has initiated a research study on the use of blockchain technology. According to a recent report by NewsDay news agency, the central bank plans to subsequently adopt, explore and incorporate the technology into the operations of the financial and banking sector in the country.
While speaking at the Alpha Media Holdings’ Banks and Banking breakfast meeting which held at Harare, the governor of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, stated that the central bank is aiming to embrace the technology. He reportedly said that central banks of other countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, China and South Africa have been exploring how to integrate blockchain technology in several industrial activities to improve their economy. John Mangudya noted that:
“I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and all the cryptocurrencies and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology.”
The RBZ governor also noted that the desire not to miss out on a significant technological development triggered the central’s bank decision to work towards embracing the blockchain technology. He also pointed out the importance of exploring the innovation with 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.”
On the idea of mining virtual currencies in the country, the governor commented that: “If you are investing in virtual money, we want to know where it is being mined. In fact, cryptocurrencies are just like mobile money because you need a wallet where you deposit the cryptocurrency, but the issue is what is their source and how do they do it?”
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Previous Stance Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
The initiation of this research study may imply that Zimbabwean government is gradually changing its stance on digital currencies and blockchain technology, the central bank has repeatedly been accused of not adopting the technology after making several restrictions on cryptocurrencies.
Earlier in May, the Central Bank of Zimbabwe released an order to restrict all financial companies from offering service to cryptocurrency exchanges. The circular also included liquidating all existing accounts related to digital currency firms in the African nation. Norman Mataruka, the director and registrar of financial institutions, said that the decision was based on the central bank’s “obligation to safeguard the integrity of payment systems,” which the RBZ is not ready to offer the cryptocurrency market. Before then, Mataruka had tagged the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as “illegal” in the country’s jurisdiction.