Kenya’s Treasury Secretary has been appointed to look into the current situation regarding cryptocurrency adoption in the country, which has so far been developing without regulations. He has just a few weeks to present his report to parliament, which would set guidelines on how to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Treasury Secretary Given Two Weeks to Decide
It has been reported on Wednesday that the Kenyan parliament has given Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich two weeks to decide if cryptocurrencies should be regulated or not, according to Business Daily Africa reported.
The Finance and National Planning Committee asked Rotich how bitcoin is used in the country. more exactly, the committee asked “why the Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) allowed people to venture into the unregulated cryptocurrency space without being licensed to operate and taxed.”
The chairman of the committee, Joseph Limo, said the following:
“We are surprised to hear that even the CBK is not aware that there is a lounge at Kenyatta University, an ATM in town, and a hotel in Nyeri which trade in bitcoins. There is a bigger problem in Kenya since people are trading billions in virtual space yet the Treasury has not licensed and taxed it like trade in M-Pesa and bank transactions.”
When Is the Time to Regulate?
Rotich acknowledged that cryptocurrency interest is on the rise, adding that he will investigate if there are any local crypto exchanges offering trading services. Rotich said that so far “I am not aware of people operating locally…But I will endeavour to find out whether we have local exchangers.”
The central bank will identify any crypto exchanges in the country and assess their risks to establish if regulation is required now or later, explained the Secretary. He then continued to say:
“The issue of cryptocurrencies is evolving and we can take a position as a country. This is a delicate balance between supporting innovation and killing it.”
Parliament’s Worries about Crypto
A Capital Business report made on Wednesday read that “Molo Constituency Member of Parliament Kimani Kuria wants cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins to be regulated due to risks associated with digital currencies.”
Kuria asserted they “can easily be used by corrupt government officials seeking to hide fraudulent money,” citing that “cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous.”
He then went on to say that:
“A person who has billions of money acquired wrongly needs only to buy several bitcoins which can store value in a system that lacks centralized outsight. He then could go to another country, recover his money and move on with life.”
When responding to a question asked by the Finance and National Planning Committee, Rotich was described by the news media outlet as being “hesitant to respond on the government’s capacity to monitor and regulate cryptocurrency transactions conducted within the Kenyan borders.” However, he stated:
“Unlike other investment avenues, cryptocurrencies are not regulated by any government authorities. Due to their unregulated nature, limited understanding of the cryptocurrency and the influx of companies engaging in it, it is prone to abuse by criminals, terrorists, and extortionists who are taking advantage of the unregulated space.”