Cryptocurrencies and CBDCs are Not Eligible for the Regulatory Sandbox Except for Smart Contracts, Says the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

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A closer look at the regulatory sandbox which was recently introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) clearly outlines that cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are not eligible for the sandbox.

The sandbox, which seeks to provide a regulatory environment to encourage innovations in the fintech sector and a conducive environment for deployment of fintech, says these 3 products are the only ones not eligible.

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SEE ALSO: The Central Bank of Ghana Launches a Regulatory and Innovation Sandbox Prioritizing Blockchain Technology

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The sandbox comes one year after the regulator said it is drafting a policy framework to guide operations of financial technology (fintech) enterprises, particularly cryptocurrency firms in the country.

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A closer look at the RBZ sandbox scope however reveals that it is limited to what the Reserve Bank would be able to oversee in terms of:

  • The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act – Chapter 22:15
  • Banking Act – Chapter 24:20
  • The National Payment Systems Act – Chapter 24:23
  • The Money Laundering And Proceeds of Crime Act – Chapter 9:24
  • Exchange Control Act – Chapter 22:05

and other relevant regulations.

Some of the products and services eligible for the sandbox testing however include:

  • Peer-to-peer / marketplace lending
  • Smart contracts
  • Digital KYC
  • Digital identification services
  • Money transfer services
  • Wealth management services
  • Financial advisory services
Dr John Mangudya – Governor, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

Interestingly, the sandbox guidelines also state that the RBZ, to the extent permited by law and in consultation with relevant financial sector players, can ‘relax or waive some of the existing regulatory requirements with a view to promoting innovation.’

Recently, the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA Kenya) released its regulatory sandbox 2021 milestone report which highlighted the achievements of the regulatory sandbox as well as the challenges and lessons learned over the 2-year period since it was launched in March 2019.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe intends to do the same after a period and report on lessons learned from the regulatory sandbox implementation.

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Read / Download the RBZ Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines here

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RECOMMENDED READING: Capital Markets Authority of Kenya Highlights the Challenges of Sandboxing Crypto and Blockchain Solutions in Kenya

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