Namibia insists cryptocurrencies are not legal tender

The Bank warns that individuals using virtual assets will take full responsibility for such transactions.

Namibia insists cryptocurrencies are not legal tender
Design by Ifeoluwa Awowoye for Mariblock. 

Although the Namibian president recently approved the regulation bill for virtual asset service providers (VASPs), the Bank of Namibia (BoN) continues to assert that cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are not acceptable for conducting transactions within the country.

Key details 

  • The Namibian Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises has stated that the aim of the virtual asset bill, which passed through the National Assembly last month, is to establish regulations for virtual asset service providers and related activities in the country.
  • However, BoN insists that the new development should not be misinterpreted as endorsing cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

What was said:

BoN spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka said:

“This approach should not be interpreted as an endorsement of virtual assets or its providers. Public members who own, utilize and trade in virtual currencies do so at their own risk, and any misfortune or losses incurred will have no recourse to the bank.”

Of note

  • Jesaya Hano-Oshike, a Namibian investment consultant, advised the government to consider innovators and existing and operational businesses within the digital asset space by not burdening them with excessive regulations.
“The legislation should not stifle innovation in the space, but rather encourage and foster innovation when it is done in the scope of the legislation,” he told The Namibian.

Key background

  • The Namibia Virtual Assets Act 2023 was officially published in the Government Gazette of Namibia on Friday, 21 July, 2023.
  • The new law is Namibia's first comprehensive piece of legislation that sets out how cryptocurrencies should be treated in the country.
  • It aims to regulate and supervise virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and related activities. The law also seeks to protect consumers, prevent market abuse, and combat money laundering.