Zimbabwe’s central bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has announced that the use of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is not allowed in the country. The bank has already issued a warning in the past stating that investors in the digital currencies could lose their money without recourse.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Director and Registrar, Norman Mataruka, the use of “Bitcoin … is not actually legal” within the country’s jurisdiction. It is not clear, however, if Bitcoin is just not officially recognized as an authorized currency or it is totally prohibited as a legal tender within the country.

"In Southern Africa, what we have done as regulators, we have said that we will not allow [Bitcoin] in our markets."

Central bank assessing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ risks and potentials

Despite his negative comment on Bitcoin, Mataruka, however, said that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has launched a research and development (R&D) initiative in order to determine the risks associated to the use of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. He added that the use of Bitcoin in the country will not be authorized until the central bank has already created and implemented a regulatory framework covering the digital currencies.

This comment shows that the central bank is keeping an open mind on the possible legalization of cryptocurrencies in the country.

Other South African countries’ positions on cryptocurrencies

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is not the only regulator opposing the mainstream adoption of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

In October 2017, the central bank of Namibia has announced that it will prohibit the use of Bitcoin as a payment option for goods and services. The central bank added that it will also disallow the establishment of virtual currency exchanges within its jurisdiction.

In their statement, Namibian central bank officials claimed that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender and as foreign currency.

"In addition to the bank not recognizing virtual currencies as legal tender in Namibia, it also does not recognize it to be a foreign currency that can be exchanged for local currency.”

The recent political unrest in the country sent Bitcoin price to shoot up to 12,500 in the country as it struggles with 95 percent unemployment rate.