Morocco has officially instituted a ban on transactions using cryptocurrencies, citing a lack of regulation as a ‘danger’ to users.
According to an official press release on its Office des Changes website, the country’s foreign exchange regulator took a firm stance on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. A translation from French puts it simply:
"Transactions via virtual currencies constitute a breach of regulations, punishable by penalties and fines."
The stance taken by the North-west African Kingdom’s regulator spells bad news for Morocco Trade and Development Services. The digital service provider had previously announced that it would accept payments in Bitcoin a week ago.
The company has indicated that it will comply with the regulator’s ruling, but the company's founder Karl Stanzik believes the regulator will struggle to curb the use of virtual currencies in the country.
Morocco’s Office des Changes insists that all payments to foreign countries need to go “through authorized intermediaries and with foreign currencies quoted by Bank Al-Maghrib,” which is its central bank.
Like many emerging markets, the use of cryptocurrencies is steadily growing, with estimates that close to $200,000 worth of transactions are made with virtual currencies.
A sign of things to come?
Interestingly enough, the Moroccan exchange regulator said it would be watching the development of cryptocurrencies with a keen eye, alongside the Kingdom’s central bank and it’s associates.
As more people, companies and institutions begin to use cryptocurrencies, governments and conventional financial institutions are forced to either take a hard line or legalize the use of virtual currencies.
We’ve seen it happen in China and Vietnam - yet people find a way to continue trading, which in time leads to a change in perception of cryptocurrencies