New Details on Bank Al Maghrib’s Draft Crypto-Asset Regulation

We know a little more about the crypto-asset regulatory project on which Morocco is working. A draft regulation that defines a policy framework for cryptocurrency exchanges.

This was explained by Adil Zbir, the head of monitoring of financial market infrastructures and payment systems at Bank Al-Maghrib.

Speaking during the plenary session on “the integration of payment systems: a growth accelerator”, one of the themes discussed within the framework of the US-Africa Business Summit which was held in Marrakech from July 19 to 22, the Central Bank official shed some light on Bank Al Maghrib’s vision of cryptocurrencies and its approach to regulating their use.

“The bill that is being prepared aims to regulate cryptocurrency trading platforms. Like France, to take this example, there must be a license and approval system precisely to allow these platforms to offer their services to Moroccan consumers,” he says.

Precisely, the week of July 15, Changpeng Zhao, the founder of one of the most important cryptocurrency exchange platforms Binance, met the teams of the Central Bank before a brief exchange with the wali, Abdellatif Jouahri.

“We are on a regulation (regulation project, editor’s note) which allows these platforms to exist”, he continues. “The objective is to think about the question of regulation which will give rise to a bill which I think will be the most balanced”.

Bank Al Maghrib watchful

Preferring to speak of cryptoassets rather than cryptocurrencies, “because their role of payment is a minor role compared to what is really done”, Adil Zbir explains that “the reflection at the start was to set up a committee which thinks about Digital Currencies “.

“In all seriousness, when cryptocurrencies started taking over the world, we were quite suspicious. We are not in the ban, but we are vigilant, ”he says.

“So we set up a central bank digital currencies committee (MDBC) in which there was a working group on cryptocurrencies which brings together all the regulators”, suggests Adil Zbir.

The presence of other regulators of the financial sector is explained by the fact that they are concerned, in particular the market authorities because “most operations are carried out as financial investments. The transactions that are made at the global level are more financial instruments in which we invest, we obviously save with a certain speculation and volatility,” he specifies.

The strong presence of volatility is one of the reasons why Bank Al Maghrib does not consider cryptocurrencies as types of money in their primary role.

Regulation, yes, “but in complete safety”insists the head of financial market infrastructure and payment systems monitoring at Bank Al-Maghrib.

“Especially since there are two subjects that concern us and concern us, money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” he says.

Safety first

One of the most important issues to address is that of cybersecurity. It is crucial. When you’re in the payment business, cybersecurity becomes a major issue.

“As a regulator, we always have this difficulty in ensuring the balance between security and innovation. When you have a population of Fintechs that is the most flexible and innovative, they would like us to go as quickly as possible, ”says the representative of the Central Bank.

At the national level, he explains that Bank Al Maghrib tried to have the most agile strategy when launching its digital strategy in 2019. “We focus the strategy on two major pillars: the Digital Lab internally to receive all the fintechs who would like to digitize the fundamental missions of the Central Bank, particularly in terms of supervision and regulation”.

“And for the exterior, we have put set up the “one stop shop Fintechs” which aims to welcome Fintechs who would like to operate in Morocco. It was installed at the level of the entity in charge of payments because there is one of the most telling statistics: 40% of Fintechs engage in payment activities”.

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