Namibian Regulators Green Lights Crypto and Digital Assets Bill

In an official publication issued by the lower house of the Namibian parliament, the policymakers granted their final nod on the virtual assets bill to regulate crypto assets. The bill outlined the regulatory action that the market watchdogs will enforce when regulating the operations of local virtual assets service providers (VASP).

Besides regulating the crypto assets, the bill aims to provide the VASP with a clear regulatory framework for crypto assets, including the licensing requirements. Under the new bill, the regulators recommended effective ways to supervise the compliance of digital and crypto assets.

Scope of Virtual Assets Bill

According to the June 22 publication, the bill underscored the need to establish a Namibia regulatory agency tasked to oversee the operation of the VASP and other crypto-related activities. Reportedly the new bill has outlined the role of Namibia regulators in the crypto sector.

The legislation has provided the regulators with a detailed report on ways to safeguard the consumer’s interest and measures to address money laundering activities, financial crimes, and market abuse.

Beyond this, the new bill has captured investors’ popular activities in the crypto sector. The bill has also incorporated additional information concerning the objective of the new crypto legislation in South-West country.

How Did Namibians Respond to the New Bill?

In an exclusive interview with the local newsroom “The Namibian,” the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi, confirmed that the authority seeks to establish a regulatory agency for monitoring crypto activities. Mr. Shiimi stated that the new regulatory body would be responsible for issuing licenses to the Namibian VASP. He noted that the authority would gazette the virtual assets bill before implementing the new legislation.

Besides outlining the regulatory actions and duties, the bill has highlighted the legal action for noncompliance firms. Per the publication, any VASP involved in illegal crypto offering or violation of the law will be required to settle a court fine amounting to $671,572, equivalent to 10 million Namibian dollars (NAD). In addition, the non-compliant firm will be placed behind bars for ten years.

Presently the Namibians have positively welcomed the new bill on virtual assets regulation and licensing. An announcement conveyed by a consultant at RisCura firm Jesaya Hano-Oshike expressed his delight that the new bill since it will support the authority to combat the risks associated with fraud and money laundering.

Hano-Oshike urged regulators to collaborate in shaping the regulatory landscape for crypto assets to support innovation and stimulate business growth in Namibia.He added that the new legislation should not block any crypto-related innovation in the country.

Overview of Namibian Crypto Regulation

In support of the consultant’s remarks, a well-known financial analyst at High Economic Intelligence, Arney Tjaronda, stated that the new legislation marks a significant milestone toward establishing the regulated crypto sector. He requested the regulators to implement practical measures to create a balance between innovation and risk management.

Tjarond acknowledges the growing proficiency of major crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. He observed that crypto assets have played a significant role in attaining monetary policies.

In his statement, Tjarond stated that the development of the central bank digital currencies (CBDC) has dramatically transformed the payment sector. He outlined the upside of CBDC in promoting financial stability and supporting economic development.

Elsewhere the Bank of Namibia (BON) failed to accept Bitcoin as a legal tender in the country. Earlier, the Namibian apex bank called for regulatory action to address the risk associated with emerging technologies such as cryptos and digital assets.

In 2018 BON’s director of strategic communications and international relations, Iipumbu Shiimi, restated that crypto assets are not recognized as legal tender in Namibia. However, the BON might reconsider its decision on crypto assets once the bank addresses the risk associated with virtual assets.

In a separate report, the BON spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka believes that the virtual assets have massive potential to support financial inclusivity in the region. The spokesperson argued that digital assets would support improving the payment sectors and cross-border transactions.

Before this, the BON had vehemently opposed using crypto assets as a payment method. The bank confessed that the current regulation in Africa fails to support cryptocurrency.

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