A fintech lawyer from Zimbabwe, Prosper Mweedzi recently initiated a process that seeks to bring recognition and regulation of cryptocurrency. Under this private member bill process, a legislative proposal initiated by private citizens will be debated in the Zimbabwean parliament. If the crypto regulation bill succeeds in getting the necessary support, it will become part of the country’s national laws.
Meanwhile, Mweedzi’s attempt to use a private bill to bring regulation to Zimbabwe’s crypto space comes more than two years after it was issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Public advice Against cryptocurrency trading. For updates on the progress of the private bill, Terence Zimvara of Bitcoin.com News recently contacted Mweedzi. Below are Mwedzi’s answers to a set of questions that were sent to him.
Bitcoin.com News (BCN): Can you start by telling us what prompted you to go the private member’s bill path?
Prosper Mvedzi (PM): We have been trying to get regulators to think about the future of digital assets in our economy since 2018, but there has been no meaningful engagement or progress. Going down the path of the private bill is a sign of disappointment about inaction by regulators as we feel that we have exhausted all other available avenues.
BCN: Can you briefly tell us what exactly this process is?
PM: The bill is about enabling innovators and entrepreneurs to operate in the market under the supervision of the Reserve Bank. It has the potential to strike a balance between protecting the public and enabling innovation. The constitution of Zimbabwe enables citizens to legislate in their area of interest by following private bill procedure, although this is not very common.
BCN: What is the current status of the bill and how has the response been?
Prime minister: Currently, we are trying to create awareness about technology and form alliances with stakeholders to promote the bill to the public. The risk of taking the bill through the process when there are fewer people understanding the technology, especially in Parliament, can be shot on first reading and will be disastrous.
BCN: Given the fact that a similar attempt was made in the past, but it ultimately failed, how do you measure the chances of success of the bill?
Prime minister: We hope that the developments happening globally will help the Parliament to think about its next steps for the benefit of the country.
Currently, Zimbabwe is lagging behind in this place compared to our neighboring countries like South Africa, where there is an incentive for policy makers and legislators to move fast to bring the country into the digital age. This is a non-partisan matter and should not be controversial.
BCN: In your view, are Zimbabwean regulators now ready to adopt digital assets or are they still waiting and following the approach?
Prime minister: It seems they are taking a wait-and-see approach, but I also think that the knowledge gap in this space is affecting meaningful action on the ground by regulators because they lack expertise.
BCN: Apart from this initiative, what else are you doing to help Zimbabwe’s crypto space grow?
Prime minister: We are emphasizing mainly on the educational front to make people realize the benefits of this technology in our economic conditions. We are encouraging young people to participate in this industry which is growing rapidly and is now valued at over $ 2 trillion. If anyone is interested in manufacturing products in this area, we can help in getting funding from the Vice Chancellors. We are also providing training services.
BCN: What kind of impact has the closure of the Kovid-19 related economy had on Zimbabwe’s crypto industry?
Prime minister: I think it has had a positive effect, people had more time and looked for new skills and entered crypto. Although quantitatively difficult to measure, this is our approach.
BCN: What do you think crypto enthusiasts still face some obstacles?
Prime minister: Currently, Zimbabwe is excluded on multiple platforms and this makes it challenging for traders to access exchange services and fund accounts. I would say that on-ramp for crypto is still an obstacle as well as off-ramp, although the latter is not a problem as there are always buyers in the local market when one wants to sell. I will also mention the lack of knowledge to get started in crypto.
We are advising new adopters and highlighting the risks and opportunities in crypto. I would also say that regulation is the elephant in the room — the current ban on the banking sector from serving crypto activities is a major and real obstacle.
What are your thoughts on Mwedzi’s initiative? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Image credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Vicky Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell a product, services, or companies, or a recommendation or endorsement of a product, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com Does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is directly or indirectly responsible for any damage or loss in connection with the use or reliance of any of the materials, goods or services mentioned in this article.