Morocco's foreign exchange authority has stated that the use of cryptocurrencies within the country can lead to penalties under existing rules.
The Office des Changes says that transactions made using cryptocurrencies within Morocco constitute an "infringement of the exchange regulations" that are punishable by penalties set out in current laws, a translated press release said.
The office also urges the general public to comply with the provisions of the foreign exchange regulations, which stipulate that international financial transactions must be carried out through authorized intermediaries and only with the foreign currencies listed by the Bank Al-Maghrib, the North African country's central bank.
The office warns:
"This is a hidden payment system that is not backed by an organization, the use of virtual currencies entails significant risks for their users."
In a concluding note, the Office des Changes indicates it – along with the central bank of Morocco and the Professional Group of Banks of Morocco (GPBM) – is following "with interest" the evolution of virtual currencies in the country.
Last week, a digital services company MTDS introduced bitcoin as a mode of payment for its services in Morocco, according to a report. It is not yet clear how the official statement will affect the firm.
The statement comes just a month after neighboring Algeria indicated it might also ban cryptocurrencies, Huffington Post Algeria indicates.
The country's proposed finance bill for 2018, currently being considered by the National People's Congress, would outlaw possession of virtual currencies like bitcoin and their use in transactions.
Moroccan parliament image via Shutterstock