- Botswana lawmakers have agreed to regulate the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trade.
- Finance Minister Peggy Serame announced plans to regulate cryptocurrency and digital token trading as part of steps to enhance anti-money laundering procedures.
Botswana’s lawmakers passed a bill to regulate cryptocurrency and digital token trading as part of efforts to tighten anti-money laundering measures, according to Finance Minister Peggy Serame.
This is from a recent official gazette, a Botswana government draught document that seeks to control new and developing virtual asset enterprises and offer a regulatory body with its tasks and powers. It is slated to be presented to the country’s lawmakers.
The Virtual Asset Bill was presented with other proposals. For example, the Financial Intelligence Bill barely over two months after Botswana’s central bank warned residents engaging in cryptocurrency trading that the country lacked a regulatory framework to control such trade.
Nonetheless, according to the proposal published in the Extraordinary Government Gazette on December 23, Botswana officials intend to include “provisions for controlling, mitigating, and preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism” in the proposed law. The document also aims to restrict the growth of virtual assets and new emerging business practices and technology.
The Virtual Assets Bill was unanimously approved on Tuesday, despite opposition lawmakers warning that leaving the cryptocurrency industry unregulated could result in a “Wild West” of the financial sector, undermining the country’s anti-money laundering efforts.
In October, the southern African country was removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s list of countries subject to increased scrutiny due to deficiencies in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Botswana joins a slew of countries, including the United States, South Africa, Russia, and China, in considering or enacting stricter cryptocurrency regulations.
The legislation comes more than two months after the central bank warned of the risks of investing in unregulated cryptocurrencies. Anyone wishing to offer cryptocurrencies or digital tokens in Botswana must obtain a license from the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and adhere to a set of conditions.