The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), has said that it is illegal to conduct any business activities via cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, as per a translated report from the Ethiopian media outlet Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC).
“Ethiopia’s national currency is the Ethiopian Birr, with any financial transaction in Ethiopia is to be paid in Birrs, according to the law,” the NBE stated.
This report spread like wildfire in the local media as the central authority tried to make it widely known that trading of Bitcoin will be considered illegal in business transactions.
While the Central Africa Republic has taken a bold step to be the first African country to legalise Bitcoin, Ethiopia’s central bank is doing the complete opposite by warning citizens not to engage in such “illegal” transactions.
The NBE warned that cryptocurrencies are being used to conduct informal financial transactions as well as money laundering schemes in Ethiopia. Furthermore, it asked the public to not only avoid trading in digital currencies but also to report to authorities when they see such illegal transactions.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) published a statement that Bitcoin was already being used by many people for buying commercial products and services as well. The NBE said that the country never claimed that crypto transactions are legal and hence, those who will continue to use crypto will face consequences.
While there are no statistics to determine how many people are using crypto in Ethiopia, it is certain that it is being used and the NBE aims to undermine the usage.
It was reported in April that Ethiopia was struggling from 36% year-over-year (YoY) inflation rate. High inflation rates have been a chief reason for few countries to adopt cryptocurrency that offer higher levels of stability amidst the falling valuation of their currencies.
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