Table of Contents
Morocco’s central bank, Bank-Al-Maghrib (BAM), is looking into how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could help the country’s economic diversity.
- Crypto and CBDC: A report from Morocco World News says that four years after banning cryptocurrencies, BAM has set up a committee to look into the pros and cons of a CBDC.
- The report said that Morocco’s central bank is still being careful because of the “speculative nature” of cryptocurrencies.
- The report said that BAM’s new committee will try to find and study the pros and cons of CDBCs for the Moroccan economy.
- In the past, Morocco has been worried about the lack of rules for cryptocurrencies and warned that using virtual currencies comes with a lot of risks.
Inevitable Adoption of Cryptocurrencies
Even though cryptocurrencies are forbidden in Morocco, they continue to thrive among crypto enthusiasts.
Morocco’s central bank, Bank-Al-Maghrib (BAM), announced that it is looking into how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could help the country.
Four years after banning cryptocurrencies, BAM has set up a committee to look into the pros and cons of a CBDC.
Due to the “speculative nature” of cryptocurrencies, Morocco’s central bank is still being very careful.
The new BAM committee will try to find out the pros and cons of CDBCs for the Moroccan economy and analyze them. In the past, Morocco has been worried about the lack of rules for cryptocurrencies and warned that using virtual currencies comes with a lot of risks.
Even though it was illegal to use Bitcoin in Morocco, cryptocurrencies are still doing well there. Only Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya trade more bitcoins than Morocco.
Moroccan Crypto and CBDC Regulatory Framework
Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Bank Al-Maghrib (Central Bank of Morocco), said at a press conference at the end of June 2022 that the institution is working on a draft law that would regulate cryptocurrencies in the country.
"Currently, we cannot adopt cryptocurrencies given the lack of regulatory and legislative frameworks both nationally and internationally. The G20 and many countries stress the importance of having a crypto regulatory framework as well as a regulatory framework for Central Bank Digital Currencies [CBDC]", Said Abdellatif Jouahri.
This is the first sign that the country aims at regulating the adoption of cryptocurrencies, the DeFi industry, and the “Blockchain” technology that makes it all work.
Morocco didn’t take a clear position on the industry until 2017 when it published a memo to ban the currency outright, and it did it again in 2021.
The country is sending mixed messages about how to use Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology. It prefers to focus on blockchain technology and has been waiting for clearer international legal frameworks before regulating the use of digital assets in the Moroccan economy.
In the meantime, using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is forbidden, and punishable by decree (quasi-law), and has to deal with a population that is eagerly adopting the technology and using it to get around conservative monetary policy.
How Many Crypto Owners in Morocco?
A recent report from TripleA, a cryptocurrency payments company, shows that the number of people who own cryptocurrency is growing around the world. Morocco had the most people who owned or used crypto, followed by Egypt, the UAE, and then KSA.
The report says that by 2021, 3.9 percent of the world’s population will own crypto, 300 million people will use crypto, and 18,000 businesses will already accept crypto payments.
The report also says that there are 32 million crypto users in Africa, 160 million in Asia, 38 million in Europe, 28 million in North America, and 24 million in Latin America.
India has 100 million crypto users, the USA has 27 million, Nigeria has 13 million, Vietnam has 5.9 million, and the UK has 3.3 million.
According to a report about the Arab World, Morocco has the most people who own crypto. There are 878,168 people in Morocco owning cryptocurrencies, which is 2.38% of the population. Bitcoin has been traded in Morocco for more than $6 Million, which has been the highest in all of North Africa. Morocco is the fourth largest country in Africa, after Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
It is followed by Egypt, where 1.75 percent of the population. In the UAE, 152,077 people own cryptocurrency, which is 1.54% of the population.
The next country is Saudi Arabia, with 452,778 crypto owners or users, or 1.3% of the population. There are 129,071 crypto owners in Jordan, which is 1.27 percent of the population. 47,949 people live in Kuwait, which is 1.12% of the population. 1.04 percent of Tunisia’s population, or 122,890 people, own cryptocurrency.
Only 70,158 people in Lebanon own crypto, which is less than 1% of the population. Only a little less than 1% of the people in Qatar, Oman, Iraq, and Bahrain own cryptocurrencies.
The report also said that 40% of customers who pay with crypto are new to the industry and that the number of eCommerce transactions paid for with crypto grew by 12.5% year over year. The average return on investment for merchants who took crypto payments was 327%.
Digital remittances reached $95.96 billion in 2018, and 15% of people who send money abroad are already using cryptocurrency to do so.
Arab countries recently had the most Google searches for terms like blockchain, crypto, bitcoin, ethereum, and more in 2021.
Bitcoin is a decentralized network that can’t be changed, can’t be hacked, and can’t be shut down. It uses a public ledger. Smart contracts, which are contracts written in code and are being built on Ethereum or other Layer 1 blockchains and Oracles like Near, Elrond, and ChainLink, will change the way citizens, the government, and businesses interact with each other.
These contracts will make it easier for people to trust government services (as has been widely adopted in the country of Estonia for example).
Bitcoin and other digital assets are also becoming more and more accepted as money or a way to pay in a number of countries. The cryptocurrency market is also full of projects that aim to solve specific problems in the real world, such as supply chains, decentralized finance through lending and providing liquidity, etc. It is an industry that is growing at an exponential rate.
So, Morocco can’t ignore this growing industry, and its growth could be good for the country. First, it could make it possible for Moroccans living abroad to send money home to their families through blockchain. This would avoid high fees and financial middlemen taking a big cut of the money.
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