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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 22 April 2019

Harare takes aim at cryptocurrencies

Zimbabwe's central bank on Monday warned against trading in cryptocurrencies, saying virtual currencies such as bitcoin were not regulated in the country. Bitcoin has sparked interest in Zimbabwe as the Zimbabwe dollar was abandoned in 2009 due to hyperinflation and the banking system relies on scarce US dollar banknotes. A report on the News24 site notes that Zimbabwe also has a 'bond note' currency with a value that is supposed to be pegged to the US currency, but which trades significantly lower. 'Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and litecoin do not have legal tender status,' said John Mangudya, Zimbabwe's central bank governor.

SA’s first cryptocurrency ATM, able to process dash, ethereum, bitcoin and others, will open in Johannesburg by the end of the week. A Business Insider report notes that users will be able to buy cryptocurrencies at the ATM, and exchange cash for cryptocurrencies without a bank account. ‘It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream,’ said George Neophytou, Northwold Spar general manager, who leads the project to install the ATM. There are about 3 000 bitcoin ATMs in 68 countries – including Zimbabwe and Djibouti in East Africa.