Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) CEO Justin Bgoni says its recently licensed subsidiary, the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange is open to listing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, according to local media reports, any such listings are still dependent on the digital asset issuers getting “regulatory approval.”
The report does not provide any details of requirements that cryptocurrency issuers must meet for their respective tokens to get listed. Furthermore, some in Zimbabwe’s small crypto community are still skeptical about the announcement especially since it is not coming from the regulators. Others say the statement attributed to the ZSE executive exposes the limited understanding of decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Also reacting to the report is Prosper Mwedzi, a financial services lawyer and blockchain enthusiast. Mwedzi, who is cautiously optimistic about the plan, explains what the latest announcement means:
“I think it is positive that they are talking about it but they did say it is subject to regulatory clearance. At the moment the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is doing a fintech policy but not a crypto policy.”
According to Mwedzi, exchanges are the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ), and “they have not said anything yet about how they view crypto.” He explains that Zimbabwe is yet to go the route taken by other African countries like Nigeria which recently classed cryptocurrencies as securities.
In 2018, the country’s central bank issued a notice advising Zimbabweans to steer clear of risky cryptocurrencies. During the same year, the central bank forced the closure of the country’s then-largest cryptocurrency exchange, Golix.
However, since late 2019, the central bank has been carefully issuing statements that appear to show a changed stance on cryptocurrencies and other emerging financial technologies. These statements however have not led to amendments or changes to the relevant regulations.
Still, Mwedzi suggests that the ZSE may have “kicked the ball in the court of SECZ and it now depends on whether they (SECZ) decide to be proactive or not.”
It remains to be seen if statements by the ZSE executive will nudge regulators into recognizing cryptocurrencies.