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Al-Maghrib Bank announces project to regulate cryptocurrencies in Morocco

The bank has created a special committee on this issue in order to start working on a regulatory framework despite the negative response from the Alawi kingdom on the subject
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Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) has just announced the development of one of the most important plans for 2022 in Morocco. The entity, at the press conference following its second quarterly meeting, has made it known that it is working on a draft law to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in the Alawi country.

Abdellatif Jouahri, director of the BAM, says that the institution has created a committee to assess the possibility of regularisation and thus begin work. According to Jouahri, the first step is to establish an appropriate regulatory framework for Morocco's situation in this market. Therefore, the moment cyber money is legalised, it will be safe due to the idea of combining innovation, technology and consumer protection.

The committee will take into consideration various aspects of Moroccan laws in the drafting of this bill. In addition, they are looking at the global experience of other countries' frameworks that already accept the use of cryptocurrencies. BAM is therefore working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to make this new idea a reality. They are providing the Moroccan entity with direct consultations on the subject and are therefore applying the benchmarking technique. This involves consulting, by way of comparison, several references where cryptocurrencies have been a success in order to be able to implement the same model in Morocco. 

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In order to satisfy the Moroccan authorities, BAM clarifies that this regulatory framework will not only allow the legalisation of cryptocurrencies, but will also create a special section to supervise their proper use. In this way, legislation on the fight against money laundering and the online financing of terrorist groups can be updated

 Morocco's negativity

The debate on the implementation of cryptocurrencies still continues to arouse negativity in the country. Several institutions in the country have already clarified that the Kingdom is not yet ready to legalise virtual currency and, for the time being, its use is still banned.

"Our duty is to protect the citizen against any legal drift or financial loss. This is an unregulated activity characterised by high volatility which leads to a lack of any protection for the consumer, especially as this system seems attractive and easy to use," the opposing institutions said in a joint statement. These include the Ministry of Finance, the Office of Foreign Exchange and the financial markets regulator.

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It is worth noting that the BAM used to be a strong advocate of a nationwide ban, but it seems that the organisation has changed its mind and has seen the positive effects of legalisation

Among the main reasons given by these organisations for banning its use, the one they are most concerned about is that of scams. According to the document, Internet scams are a growing problem that occurs on a regular basis even without requiring the use of virtual currency. The institutions clarify that people still do not understand how cryptocurrencies work and, because of the ambition to invest, it is very easy to be deceived and suffer great losses of money, among other crimes.

The BAM hopes that soon cybercurrencies will see the light of day in the Kingdom and be available to all. "Given the absence of a legal framework regulating cryptocurrencies domestically and internationally, we cannot adopt cryptocurrencies yet. It is a question of when. Cryptocurrencies represent the future," Jouahri said.

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Despite its ban, Morocco is the most heavily traded cryptocurrency market in North Africa

The fact that there is no clear legalisation of cybercurrencies has not prevented many Moroccans from learning about them and starting to use them. According to several analyst portals, the Kingdom is the place in North Africa where most transactions are carried out with this virtual money. It is estimated that almost one million Moroccans, a total of 2.4% of the population, have already used them for their use and enjoyment. Moreover, in 2021, cryptocurrency transaction records have reached historic figures, 30% more than usual, and it seems that these figures will continue to grow until their normalisation is established.