In spite of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said that it will make an administrative sandbox for crypto business visionaries, nearby industry players cautioned not to get excessively energized and encouraged to sit tight for results.
In March, the bank reported that it has begun drafting a strategy structure.
“The structure, which is an administrative sandbox, will survey the digital currency organizations with respect to how they will work,” Chronicle announced in those days, refering to Josephat Mutepfa, Deputy Director of Financial Markets and National Payment Systems at the RBZ.
Additionally in March, American organization Apollo Fintech consented to an update of arrangement with government-claimed CBZ to “create and work 3 national arrangements” and one of them is a gold-supported stablecoin.
However, some local crypto industry players are still skeptical about these plans.
“It’s not something to celebrate too early because it has been two years now and they are saying the same thing over and over again at conferences,” Confidence Nyirenda, Director of crypto exchange BitPaya and a former blockchain developer at Smartcash and Golix, told Cryptonews.com.
He added that the RBZ has ignored solutions offered by local startups and now the central bank is inviting developers from foreign countries. Nyirenda is concerned that the market regulator will create a harsh regulatory environment for local startups, while only big players might benefit from the new regulations.
“Therefore, besides this being good news to the crypto and blockchain world, it might be a setback for local startups that helped create the community and the industry,” he opined.
Meanwhile, Terrence Zimwara, Africa Curator in Chief at Africa Blockchain Media, thinks that the RBZ will only work with those companies it can control.
“You need to understand that the RBZ, just like other central banks on the continent, is not a big fan of privately issued digital currencies,” Zimwara said, suggesting to wait and see what actions will follow the recent positive statements.
He also stressed that with the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWL) headed for another collapse, the RBZ needs to bring a monetary alternative if it wants to restore confidence, and by working with the local crypto community it has greater chances to find better solutions.
The annual inflation rate in Zimbabwe was 540% in February this year.
Bitcoin finds its way
Meanwhile, according to local players, crypto awareness is growing in the country.
Local crypto entrepreneurs told Cryptonews.com that they believe that crypto payments would help increase liquidity in the market and “would have a really good impact on financial inclusion and would make payments cheaper.” Moreover, even local tourist guides warn that it’s difficult to get ZWL in cash.
Also, as more and more local people know about crypto and are using it, the RBZ even banned local banks from dealing with businesses involved in crypto in order to avoid capital flight.
However, Zimbabweans are still finding peer-to-peer ways to trade crypto.
“Nothing is done via banks. There are WhatsApp groups where people buy and sell crypto,” an operator of such groups told Cryptonews.com.
He claims he “interacts with about 2,000 people on the various groups that buy and sell bitcoin (BTC) on a daily basis.”
“Five years ago, when I got involved with cryptocurrency, 1 out of 100,000 understood what it was. Now, it’s probably 1 out of 1,000,” he concluded.
The RBZ did not respond to our requests for comment.