Kenya is taking cryptocurrencies and blockchain related matters seriously as Members of the Parliament gives the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury, Henry Rotich two weeks to decide whether cryptocurrencies will become legal tender in the country. It came to the notice of the Finance and National Planning Committee that trading in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies were ongoing in the country. They, however, held Mr Rotich accountable and sought to find out if the Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) allowed the citizens to trade in the unregulated cryptocurrency space.
Joseph Limo, the chairman of the committee aired his views saying,
“We are surprised to hear that even the CBK is not aware that there is a lounge at Kenyatta University, an ATM in town, and a hotel in Nyeri which trade in bitcoins. There is a bigger problem in Kenya since people are trading billions in virtual space yet the Treasury has not licensed and taxed it like trade in M-Pesa and bank transactions.”
The Committee is alarmed that people are allowed to trade in the unregulated market without being licensed to operate and taxed. However, Henry Rotich responded to the queries of the National Committee of Planning and Finance for failing in his duty saying he was aware of the growing interest of the citizens of Kenya in cryptocurrencies. But, he claimed to be oblivious to the fact that any local exchange was partaking in crypto related activities.
He explains, “The issue of cryptocurrencies is evolving and we can take a position as a country. This is a delicate balance between supporting innovation and killing it.” He also explained, “Unlike other investment avenues, cryptocurrencies are not regulated by any government authorities. Due to their unregulated nature, limited understanding of the cryptocurrency and the influx of companies engaging in it, it is prone to abuse by criminals, terrorists, and extortionists who are taking advantage of the unregulated space.” Well, in the next two weeks we look forward to seeing what results this query will result in.