Burundi outlaws cryptocurrency trading

The Republic of Burundi has outlawed all forms of crypto trading within the country, citing concerns over the safety of citizens using cryptocurrencies like SegWitCoin (BTC), Bloomberg reported.

Home to just under 11 million people, the East African state has specifically outlawed cryptocurrencies including BTC and Ethereum after a spate of complaints to government authorities about cryptocurrencies and investment schemes. However, unprepared to bail out those affected, the authorities in Burundi have opted instead for the blanket ban, to minimize the risks posed by cryptocurrencies within its borders.

The director of micro-finance at Burundi’s central bank, Alfred Nyobewumusi, was quoted by the news outlet saying the measures were taken in response to a growing number of complaints from citizens left out of pocket from their dealings in cryptocurrency. He said a number of victims had asked the central bank to intervene in cases where they had lost money trading in cryptocurrencies, with the decision to make them illegal the most effective way to prevent more harm from being done.

In an interview given to Bloomberg, Nyobewumusi said there would be strict penalties for those that choose to flout the new laws:

Strong measures could be taken against all those who will not respect this decision.

The approach in Burundi could well inspire similar moves from other governments and regulators, with many jurisdictions currently battling a proliferation of cryptocurrency scams, frauds and other criminality.

While others have tried to regulate, some states may find it more efficient and more effective to outlaw speculation on cryptocurrencies altogether.

Digital currency can help emerging economies, particularly in instances where large swathes of the population are unbanked — i.e. without access to a bank account. Currently, only 7.1% of the country has access to mainstream banking services.

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