Cryptocurrency exchanges are not allowed in Namibia under a decades-old law, and merchants in the African country may not accept them as payment for goods and services, the nation's central bank has said.
It also made familiar points about the risks of money laundering from cryptocurrencies, the alleged shortcomings of a currency without government or commodity backing, and the potential benefits the financial system could achieve through its underlying distributed ledger technology.
The paper heavily cites previous research by the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Action Task Force, a global intergovernmental anti-money-laundering organization. In other statements, it further elaborated on its interpretation of relevant domestic law.
For example, Namibia's Exchange Control Act of 1966 "does not make provision for the establishment of virtual currency exchanges or bureaus in Namibia," the central bank said.
The paper continued:
While the report acknowledges that cryptocurrencies can be used to facilitate remittances and other consumer payments, by trading into and out of fiat currencies, it said that "due to the lack of a legal premise, the bank is unable to endorse such activities in Namibia at the moment."
Even exchanging bitcoin for a cup of coffee is forbidden, apparently.
"Virtual currencies cannot be used to pay for goods and services in Namibia," the central bank said. "For example, a local shop is not allowed to price or accept virtual currencies in exchange for goods and services. Users of virtual currencies should therefore exercise caution when dealing in this type of currencies or when comparing it to e-money," meaning fiat currency in digital form.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.