Botswana and Cryptocurrency

Botswana Cryptocurrency Law
Regulation of Digital Currencies: Cryptocurrency, Bitcoins, Blockchain Technology

Is cryptocurrency legal in Botswana?

Currently, there are no regulations on cryptocurrencies or the use of blockchain technology in Botswana. According to a 2018 Ecobank study, Botswana’s relationship with cryptocurrency is contentious, but currently, it appears that the Government continues to monitor the technology.

Over time, government-affiliated officials have treated cryptocurrency skeptically.[1] For example, Andrew Sesinyi, Head of Communications at the Bank of Botswana (BOB), addressed cryptocurrency, stating that the BOB “does not regulate cryptocracies and/or related distributed ledger technologies and is thus not undertaking any studies in that direction.”[2] Further, Governor of the BOB Moses Pelaelo informed the public that cryptocurrencies are neither controlled nor regulated by the BOB,[3] cannot be transferred into Botswanan Pula,[4] and pose a threat to the efficacy of central bank mandates.[5]

Despite the Government’s view of cryptocurrency, there is a small yet active Bitcoin economy in Botswana.[6] This community uses apps like Facebook or WhatsApp and exchanges like Altcoin Trader.[7] Although there are not cryptocurrency exchanges in Botswana, a Bitcoin exchanged—Belfrics—announced plans to launch in Botswana after launching in Kenya in 2017.[8]

Although cryptocurrency remains unregulated in Botswana, some expect that the continued launch of blockchain startups will necessitate reconsideration and closer scrutiny by the Bank of Botswana.[9]

P.S. Insights on Cryptocurrency Legal Issues

Most jurisdictions and authorities have yet to enact laws governing cryptocurrencies, meaning that, for most countries, the legality of crypto mining remains unclear.

Under the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), crypto miners are considered money transmitters, so they may be subject to the laws that govern that activity. In Israel, for instance, crypto mining is treated as a business and is subject to corporate income tax. In India and elsewhere, regulatory uncertainty persists, although Canada and the United States are relatively friendly to crypto mining.

However, apart from jurisdictions that have specifically banned cryptocurrency-related activities, very few countries prohibit crypto mining.

Our Freeman Law Cryptocurrency Law Resource page provides a summary of the legal status of cryptocurrency for each country across the globe with statutory or regulatory provisions governing cryptocurrency.  The globe below provides links to country-by-country summaries:


Podcast:
The Freeman Law Project – Cryptocurrency Regulation and Taxation: A Brief Primer


Do you have questions about cryptocurrency, digital currencies, or blockchain technology?
Freeman Law can help with digital currencies, tax planning, and tax compliance.  Contact us now to schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3410 to discuss your cryptocurrency and blockchain technology concerns.


[1] https://cdn.crowdfundinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Middle-Africa-Briefing-EcoBank-Note-Digital-African-crypto-regulation-August-2018.pdf

[2] https://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=69257&dir=2017/june/02

[3] https://cdn.crowdfundinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Middle-Africa-Briefing-EcoBank-Note-Digital-African-crypto-regulation-August-2018.pdf

[4] https://cdn.crowdfundinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Middle-Africa-Briefing-EcoBank-Note-Digital-African-crypto-regulation-August-2018.pdf

[5] https://www.sundaystandard.info/here-is-what-the-governor-thinks-of-crypto-assets/

[6] https://blog.blockpit.io/en/cryptocurrencies-in-africa

[7] https://blog.blockpit.io/en/cryptocurrencies-in-africa

[8] https://www.bakermckenzie.com/-/media/files/insight/publications/2019/02/report_blockchainandcryptocurrencyreg_feb2019.pdf

[9] https://blog.blockpit.io/en/cryptocurrencies-in-africa

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