Government to Submit Virtual Assets Bill to Parliament – ​​Regulated Bitcoin News

The government of Botswana is to submit a “Virtual Assets Bill” to the country’s parliament, a move that could make it one of the first countries in Africa to enact laws to regulate cryptocurrencies.

Prevent the spread of risks associated with cryptocurrencies

The Botswana government’s proposed regulation of emerging and developing virtual asset businesses, and a government draft document that would give the regulator functions and powers, will now be submitted to the country’s legislators, according to a recent government gazette.

The Virtual Assets Bill is planned to be introduced alongside other bills such as the Financial Intelligence Act, just over two months after the country’s central bank warn Residents engaged in cryptocurrency transactions, Botswana does not have a regulatory framework governing such transactions.

However, in a draft published in a special government gazette on Dec. 23, Botswana authorities said they not only seek to recognize cryptocurrency trade, but plan to include “provisions for the management, mitigation and prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism” into the bill. The draft also aims to prevent proliferation risks associated with virtual assets and emerging business practices and technologies.

Regarding companies or entities issuing tokens, the draft bill states:

Part III further provides that the regulator may grant a license if the applicant proves that it has the necessary infrastructure and resources to carry out the business activities of a virtual asset service provider or initial coin offering issuer, and the applicant is suitable. appropriate person. The definition of “appropriate and appropriate” in Article 11(2) is consistent with the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Act.

Elsewhere, the draft explains the circumstances in which regulators can grant an applicant a license to operate. For their part, licensees should protect assets belonging to customers. They are also expected to “prevent market abuse and provide measures to acquire beneficial interests in their businesses.”

Mandatory white paper

Regarding advertising of token offerings, the draft states:

“Part IV further stipulates that licensees shall publish a white paper containing complete and accurate information for potential purchasers of virtual assets and initial coin offerings to make informed decisions.”

Meanwhile, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have speculated that Botswana’s proposal to amend its financial laws may be related to the country’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list in October 2021. The FATF has previously cited deficiencies in the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) regimes as reasons for flagging the country.

However, at the end of 2021 – nearly three years after greylisting – the FATF said it had removed Botswana from the list after noting some improvements.

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Terence Chimwala

Terence Zimwara is an award-winning journalist, author and author from Zimbabwe. He has written extensively on the economic woes of some African countries and how digital currencies can offer Africans an escape route.

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