Kenya’s Leaders must champion Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency Regulations in Kenya

Countries maintain their economic status based on several factors. They include unemployment rates, inflation, interest rates, supply and demand, and foreign exchange rates among others. These are very major factors and to add a new component into the list would require intensive research in proving.

I’m definitely not in for that job. Nonetheless, I believe that there exist many small components which might generally have a small impact on the economy of a country but in certain circumstances result in significant implications on its future. One such example is the adaptability to new technology.

In an era where the world is advancing at a very alarming rate, the least any country would do is to ignore the technological progress of other societies. This is done under pure ignorance will result in a country being on an archaic age as compare to other countries. As a result, its citizens fall behind in innovation and opportunities to better their lives.

This is what might be happening in Kenya at this very moment. The world is transitioning into the blockchain technology where power, money, resources and everything nice is becoming decentralized among people and accountability is progressively becoming embraced, yet back at home, we are not only fighting but also ignoring the need to discuss on matters blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

We all know Kenya’s biggest problems; tribalism and corruption. If you’ve never imagined a Kenya without those two, then let me define patriotism to you; devotion physically mentally and spiritually to supporting your country. Kenya would be semi-utopian!

Nonetheless, we are at our current state and people at the very top, people with power and money who constantly fuel the country with these crude oils might as well not like the unsettling might this new technology has to unstabilize their comfort zones.  

That’s why the Central Bank of Kenya was quick to dismiss Bitcoin, instinctively apprise Kenyans to desist from using bitcoin and categorically warn financial institutions from dealing with virtual currencies. To me, this was rather short-sighted and lazy since there have been no actions by the central institution to understand virtual currencies.

That’s also why the parliament only brought bitcoin into their attention in 2018 when it was discovered that Kenyans are embracing bitcoin and the government is not benefiting in terms of taxes. They requested the then minister of Treasury to regulate digital currencies. Ever since no other discussions have been done concerning the same.

I believe the most central reason why our leaders don’t want to understand this new technology, study it and find ways to implement laws that will govern its adoption then educate the masses, is because they are more afraid of the power it gives the common mwananchi.

Power to make transactions at little to no cost. Power not to have their financial footprints surveyed. Banks especially still want a piece of the pie. They’ve realized that cryptocurrencies have the potential to make them obsolete.

Ignoring or implementing tough laws against digital currencies in Kenya won’t stop liberals adopting the innovative technology, neither will it stop other societies from advancing their economy with it. In fact, it will slow down our technological growth rendering us backwards in a few years.

The fear these actions instil among Kenyans will prevent many innovative minds from discovering solutions to world problems using this technology. This ought to change.

The government needs to change its perspective on cryptocurrencies. Instead of fighting or ignoring, they ought to have a chat about it and find ways to make its adoption feasible. They ought to find ways to educate the normal mwananchi about cryptocurrencies, their risks and opportunities.

Malta became the first country to start regulating cryptocurrencies back in 2018. Ever since many other countries have joined the bandwagon and are quickly getting thing under control. Why? Because first, you can’t stop the blockchain and crypto industry from growing, no matter what restriction you put. Second, while this technology brings in innovative ideas and products, it also attracts sinister techies who would love to defraud ill-informed citizens. Failing to provide regulations and counter-measures means citizens will not be protected from these fraudsters. S

So the government must take the front line in the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to supercharge progress and protect Kenyans. Malta’s cryptocurrency laws, for instance, are aimed at strengthening the cryptocurrency industry while protecting virtual currency users, regulating designated innovative technology structures and establishing institutions which will regulate the entire blockchain industry and ensure capacity building.

Finally, I’m very pleased by the Kenya Capital Markets Authority for including two blockchain-based companies to its regulatory sandbox: Pyypl Group Limited and Belrium Kenya. Such developments will promote the use of blockchain technology and thus hasten its adoption in the country.

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