The debate on the introduction of cryptocurrencies in Morocco is still in the air and there are those who defend it and those who do not. It seemed that the issue was finally on the negotiating table, but it has taken a turn and several institutions have once again expressed their disagreement with the implementation of virtual currency as a form of payment in the Kingdom.
The Central Bank of Morocco, together with the Ministry of Finance, the Foreign Exchange Office and the financial markets regulator have met to make a joint statement on the issue. In this, they have clarified that they prohibit the use of cryptocurrencies.
"Bank Al-Maghrib, the Moroccan Capital Market Authority as regulatory bodies and the Bureau of Exchange prohibit the use of such processes," said the document.
Despite various attempts to introduce them into the market, there are still Moroccan entities that refuse to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. For them, there are still no regulatory measures to prevent any kind of illegal activity related to them, as well as expressing that Moroccans are going to be unprotected if their use is allowed.
"Our duty is to protect the citizen against any legal drift or financial loss. This is an unregulated activity characterised by high volatility which results in a lack of any consumer protection, especially as this system seems attractive and easy to use," the entities state.
In addition to this, there is also a mention of the illegal use that can be made of the trading of cryptocurrencies. Financial institutions claim that their use is prone to carry out operations related to money laundering. They also add that cybercurrency scams are on the rise as people still do not understand how they work and it is very easy to be deceived online, which can lead to large losses of money.
The joint document ends by stressing to Moroccans that they will deprive those who are not within the framework of legality of any resources, as well as not providing help to anyone with problems in cybercurrency operations.
"It is very difficult to control cryptocurrencies," the entities point out. Added to this is the fact that in general virtual currency has become an important resource in financial assets, which is why they call for it to stop being used and return to the framework of legality.
These organisations have always expressed their negativity on the issue, but this contrasts with the latest statements by Nadia Fettah Alaoui, the Minister of Finance. According to her, the government was studying how to introduce them into the Alawi legal framework. Even the head of the BAM, Abdellatif Jouarihi, said a few days ago that they were studying the matter. "Given the absence of a legal framework regulating cryptocurrencies at the national and international level, we cannot yet adopt cryptocurrencies," the director said. Although he did not fully support the implementation of cryptocurrencies into the system, he assured that they will eventually be available to all. "It's a question of when. Cryptocurrencies represent the future," he added.
The Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office, for example, has always been reluctant to allow the use of cybercurrencies and has confirmed this on numerous occasions. "Morocco will not admit a hidden payment system that is not backed by any financial institution", it says.
Although the Kingdom has no clear legalisation of virtual currencies, analysts confirm a rising trend in their use, with analysts ranking the nation as the most widely used in North Africa. It is estimated that 2. 4% of Moroccans, more than 900,000 people, use virtual currency. Moreover, several electronic portals have confirmed that, in 2021, the Alawi country has experienced historic transfers of cryptocurrencies, so that the registrations of this service have grown by more than 30% in recent times.