- In November 2017, Morocco’s Central Bank, the Bank of Al-Maghrib (BAM), released an official notice banning the use and distribution of any digital currency.
- Morocco’s crypto journey took an unexpected turn in 2022 as its crypto adoption rate increased by 3.1% from its previous 2.1% in 2021.
- BAM has collaborated with the IMF and World Bank to create an efficient crypto regulation
Africa’s crypto journey has had many ups and downs since its debut. Several African governments initially met digital asset adoption with hostility. Despite that, its underlying crypto traders took advantage of its lucrative promise. As time progressed and with the relative increase of crypto traders in several African countries, different governments slowly changed their views. Nigeria, South Africa, and Mauritius were the first in line to accept the concept of crypto. Slowly other African governments had a change of heart, and many even went as far as researching crypto regulations best suited for them. The crypto adoption rate in Morocco has a similar story as the rest.
Morocco has had its ups and downs with the crypto industry. However, it has steadily embraced the value of digital assets. Here is an overview of Morocco’s crypto journey.
The rocky start of Morocco’s crypto journey.
Like many other African countries, Morocco’s government did not see the benefits of digital asset adoption. As a result, it became the first North African country to ban crypto usage. In November 2017, Morocco’s Central Bank, the Bank of Al-Maghrib, released an official notice banning the use and distribution of any digital currency. At the time, the ban was met with little to no resistance. This is because the crypto adoption rate in Morocco was still gradually increasing. This, however, did not indicate entirely that Moroccan crypto traders did not exist.They were merely a tiny community. The reason behind the ban initially brought in a lot of questions. At the time, crypto in Africa was still relatively new, and only a few individuals questioned it. According to their statement, Africa’s crypto industry required crypto regulations, and consequently, the lack thereof constituted a danger to all existing crypto traders. It also emphasized using accredited financial intermediaries for any transaction and remittance.
A more genuine reason can be rooted in summing up the several bans from different African countries. From Nigeria to Kenya, each one had a different statement. Still, in hindsight, it all boiled down to the government’s fear that a massive digital assets adoption would challenge the native fiat currency. As such, countries like Morocco quickly banned the use of cryptocurrency at an economic level.
However, this and many other bans meant that crypto trades couldn’t buy products using crypto coins. A lack of crypto regulations meant that Morocco’s crypto journey would slug in picking up momentum. The government still needed to be a part of it. The decentralized nature of blockchain ensures the continuity of crypto trading in Morocco, and as the years progressed, so did the rate of digital asset adoption.
Morocco’s crypto journey continued to soar amidst the ban.
The ban on cryptocurrency was still in effect for a few years, but the crypto adoption rate in Morocco was soaring regardless. In 2021 at the peak of bitcoin’s worth, $69000, Morocco essentially had its best month in digital asset adoption. The rate of the individual crypto trader was soaring to new heights and more so in the northern countries. According to LocalBitcoins Chief Marketing Officer Jukka Blomberg, approximately $900000 worth of bitcoin circulated in February 2022 alone. LocalBitcoins saw a 30% increase from Morocco alone between 2019 and 2020, with over 700 new accounts registered under the country’s name.
Despite Moroccos’s Foreign Exchange Offer warnings, crypto traders within the country continued to increase, and digital asset adoption only increased with additional crypto traders stepping onto NFTs.
The reason for this exponential rise is the declining financial state of Morocco. According to the World Bank, Morocco is one of the most underbanked countries in the world. In their report, only 29% of adults had access to bank accounts, a meagre number compared to her sister countries in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA).
Crypto trading soared to great heights since Moroccan citizens finally acquired desperately needed financial services. According to banking official Ismail Douiri, the low-income earners within Morocco feated the concept of banks. This fear eventually fueled the urge to acquire alternative financial services outside their standard system. Crypt offered hat relief to its citizens, and Morocco’s crypto adoption rate started soaring to even greater heights.
The signs of Change in Morocco’s crypto Journey
Morocco’s crypto journey took an unexpected turn in 2022 as its crypto adoption rate increased by 3.1% from its previous 2.1% in 2021. This was the fastest adoption rate recorded within MENA then, and it finally garnered its government’s attention.
With the fast ac of digital asset adoption, the Moroccan government had to step in and find a solution that would benefit everyone.In 2022, Morocco’s Central bank announced that a crypto regulation was underway. After realizing that numerous attempts and a ban would not deter the crypto adoption rate in Morocco, all that was left was to encourage Morocco’s crypto Journey to some extent. They set the primary goal of this crypto regulation to find a balance between consumer protection and innovation adoption. It was evident that Morocco’s crypto Journey had changed its Central Bank’s mindset and view on digital asset adoption.
Governor of Morocco’s Central Bank, Abdellatif Jouahri, announced a series of discussions between BAM and crypto traders. Regulators such as Moroccan Capital Market Authority, the Insurance Supervisory Authority and Social Security would participate in the creation of a new crypto regulation.
In addition, BAM is collaborating with the IMF and World Bank to create an efficient crypto regulation. This essentially will propel Morocco’s crypto Journey to new heights. Drafting a crypto regulation suited for a country is no easy feat, but it’s the first step for Morocco if it is to benefit from its crypto adoption rate truly.
After several months, Morocco’s crypto journey may pass a significant threshold, and the crypto regulation is nearing completion. Despite its ups and downs, the digital asset adoption of the Northern country has established itself deep within Morocco’s heart. Will this mark a new age for Africa’s crypto adoption rate and spark other countries to take the initiative? We will have to wait and see how this crypto regulation will shape Web3 in Africa.