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Kenyan lawmakers seek local blockchain association for the crypto bill



Kenya, crypto regulation, Blockchain Association, digital assets

Industry players in Kenya could develop a regulatory framework for crypto [blockchain] in Kenya according to a recent development in the East African country. The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning has asked the Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) to draft a “virtual asset service providers bill,” which could be the first of its kind.

On Oct. 31, BAK representatives met with the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning to discuss the regulation of digital assets. Allan Kakai, BAK’s legal and policy director, shared more information about the meeting with Mariblock, a local media outlet.

“We are telling [the] parliament: ‘Look, Kenya has always branded itself as the Silicon Savannah; we are top three for digital assets [volume in Africa], and if we do not develop a clear licensing and regulatory framework, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius would take the lead, and the capital flow that would have come to Kenya would have flocked elsewhere.”

Following the meeting, the committee granted BAK a two-month timeframe to draft the cryptocurrency bill. The committee’s official X (formerly Twitter) account mentioned that they urged the Association to conduct comprehensive public education on cryptocurrency trading to demystify it.”

In September 2023, the Kenyan government introduced the Financial Act 2023, requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to withhold 3% of the value of any digital asset transactions. BAK, which unsuccessfully tried to persuade lawmakers to rethink the crypto tax proposal at a meeting in May, has filed a lawsuit with the High Court of Kenya to challenge the requirement.

Meanwhile, Kenyan authorities have taken a firm stance against Worldcoin, a controversial digital ID project co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and have banned the initiative. A parliamentary committee in Kenya has recommended that the country’s regulators take action against Worldcoin for harvesting personal data without user consent.

Nigeria’s blockchain move

Kenya is not the only African nation following this path because, in May 2023, the Nigerian government introduced the National Blockchain Policy. This policy aims to foster the growth of blockchain-based products and provide job prospects for over 100 million young individuals in the country.

In June, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), organized a meeting with stakeholders from the Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN) and other industry players. 

The objective of the meeting was to discuss the expanding blockchain ecosystem in the country and explore potential partnerships between NITDA and SIBAN. The aim is to facilitate the widespread adoption of blockchain technology in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s active role in crypto and blockchain technology adoption has positioned it as a leader, boasting over 12 million crypto owners and claiming the top spot in Africa. As of May 2023, Nigeria holds the eighth position globally for crypto owners.


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