Kenya’s Experience in Mobile Money Provides a Strong Foundation for Leveraging Blockchain, Says Central Bank of Kenya

Kenya’s experience in terms of the mobile and digital payments infrastructure provides a strong foundation for leveraging the opportunities presented by global developments." - Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)

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According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Kenya’s experience in innovating its financial systems makes it a strong candidate to gain from the opportunities of blockchain technology.

In the National Payments Strategy blueprint report released in February 2022, the CBK said:

The emerging global learning and experience will be useful in guiding how countries can tap the potential benefits of blockchain and DLT, including the emergence of new forms of digital money.

Kenya’s experience in terms of the mobile and digital payments infrastructure provides a strong foundation for leveraging the opportunities presented by global developments.

– The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)

CBK has also addressed the emergence of blockchain, bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies at length in the latest blueprint report.

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SEE ALSOSafaricom MPESA B2B Transactions Surpass the Value of P2P Transfers in Kenya

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Kenya was one of the first countries in the world where a mobile money service (MPESA) became widely adopted.

Starting off as a way for people to send and receive digital cash using their mobile phones, today, mobile money has enabled new and traditional players to innovate applications such as loans and savings.

In its national payments strategy blueprint released on February 23, 2022, CBK revealed that as a result of innovating payment rails over the years, the country has attained 83.7% financial inclusion.

CBK, which asked its residents to share their thoughts about a potential CBDC on 10th February 2022 as it steps up efforts to issue one, also pointed out that each country’s needs and applications will likely be different based on the current state of each country’s payments technology and networks.

“Finally, as the BIS noted in its 2021 Annual Economic Report, the impact will also depend on the existing financial and payments architecture and infrastructure in each country.”

– CBK

The bank however maintained that global financial institutions need be careful as they seek to rope in potential benefits from cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

It listed several key drawbacks that regulators need to watch out for:

  • High volatility of cryptocurrencies make them prone to speculation. As a form of money, this means they cannot offer a stable store of value and therefore act as a medium for exchange
  • Privately-issued cryptocurrencies or assets whose issuers choose to remain anonymous may be used for ML/TF flows or facilitating payments for financial crime
  • Data privacy and confidentiality risks, particularly in the case of cyber-attacks that result in data breaches or data leaks of confidential information
  • Data privacy and confidentiality risks, particularly in the case of cyber-attacks that result in data breaches or data leaks of confidential information
  • Security and stability concerns as privately-managed and technology-dependent systems may not have robust defenses, which can result to attacks that cripple critical infrastructure
  • Privately issued cryptocurrencies or payment institutions can constrain competition, especially when these have a first mover advantage
  • Loss of funds and customer protection risks, particularly in the case where institutions providing unregulated products object to being subject to appropriate domestic and cross-jurisdictional regulation

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RECOMMENDED READINGMobile Banking Usage Grew to Over 34% in 2021, Says Central Bank of Kenya

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