As many countries make advances toward supporting digital currency innovations, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has confirmed that the government is exploring ways to let cryptocurrencies thrive.
Speaking to the country’s citizens at an event in Dubai last week, Ncube said the country is already creating an avenue to make digital currencies like Bitcoin legal, but not to become a legal tender, as in the case of El Salvador.
The minister pointed out the fact that digital currencies are now too big to ignore and that the embrace of digital currencies can help lower the cost of remittance to the country. This inflow is on track to hit $1 billion this year. Amongst the major considerations, Ncube noted the country is working on the launch of a crypto ETF. According to him, the plans for these products are already underway, and private investors are fronting the initiative.
While acknowledging that the nation has no plan to ban digital currencies, he explained, “but our view is that we do not want it to be a currency. Want this to be an investment class. So,… through the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange platform, we will try to create crypto-based products there, which is ring-fenced within the offshore zone.”
He reassured that the ministry “has taken the first step already and created a sandbox, at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), where the idea and everything else is being tested in a safe regulated, environment where it will then migrate to this safe Victoria Falls environment.”
There are no timelines for these crypto ETF pursuits. However, he noted that the active partners helping to develop the index weighting the ETF products will be based on are from Dubai, one of the growing financial hubs in the world today.
Crypto ETF products are becoming popular today. While relatively new, countries like Canada, Brazil, and Germany have active Bitcoin ETF products. The current move from Zimbabwe may place the country as the first in Africa to float the country’s first crypto ETF.
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