Morocco is moving towards licensing cryptocurrency trading platforms within the framework of the law

Adel Zubair, who is responsible for supervising the infrastructure of financial markets and payment systems at Bank Al-Maghrib, announced that the draft law that is being prepared regarding cryptocurrencies will adopt a system for licensing the operation of trading platforms for these currencies.

During a seminar organized today, Thursday, in Marrakech, as part of the 14th session of the US-Africa Business Summit, Zubair referred to France’s experience in this regard, which grants licenses to trading platforms in these cryptocurrencies.

The official at the Moroccan Central Bank stated that “Bank Al-Maghrib was apprehensive when cryptocurrencies invaded the world, and we considered them at the time and we are still crypto assets and not cryptocurrencies.”

Zubair added that the transfers that take place today worldwide regarding encrypted assets are characterized by fluctuations, as their value is affected, for example, by the announcement of an investor that it adopts a currency for performance, and when it is abandoned, it drops dramatically.

The spokesperson indicated that Bank Al-Maghrib issued a statement in 2017 regarding the trading of digital currencies in Morocco, and explained that the communication did not talk about the ban, but rather adopted the language of warning, given the risks that these cryptocurrencies have to the consumer.

Zubair added, “We are vigilant about this issue. A draft law is being prepared in Morocco with the aim of legalizing cryptocurrency trading platforms. In France, for example, the licensing system has been adopted so that these platforms can provide their services to the consumer.”

The official at Bank Al-Maghrib confirmed that the legalization “will enable these platforms to operate in Morocco in complete safety, especially since this issue raises the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.”

The spokesman pointed out that thinking about this issue began at Bank Al-Maghrib by creating a committee to discuss the issue of digital currencies for central banks. Including a working group looking at the issue of cryptocurrencies, which is a matter of interest to all regulators associated with the financial sector.

Zubair’s talk about some details of the upcoming bill comes days after Zhang Bing Zhao, founder and CEO of the “Binance” cryptocurrency exchange, visited Morocco last week, where he held a meeting with a group of Bank Al-Maghrib officials specializing in cryptocurrency last week. He also met Abdellatif Jouahri, Wali of Bank Al-Maghrib, for a few minutes.

The Binance platform is the largest platform in the world to buy, trade and store more than 600 digital currencies, and the number of users of this platform is about 90 million people around the world, and its owner is considered one of the most influential figures in the world of cryptocurrencies across the world.

Despite the absence of a clear legal framework prohibiting the trading of cryptocurrencies, in the past years, Moroccan courts have decided on a number of files related to the issue. Last year, the Court of Cassation considered a file in which a person was prosecuted for “the misdemeanour of professionally receiving money from the public, carrying out credit operations without legal approval and transferring money illegally and without a license from the exchange office.”

The concerned person was sentenced by the Court of Appeal in Casablanca to one and a half years in prison and a fine of 100,000 dirhams, and to the payment of an effective financial excuse of 11.2 million dirhams and 2.2 million dirhams to the Customs and Indirect Tax Administration.

In convicting him, the court relied on the provisions of Article 1 of Law No. 103.12 relating to credit institutions and bodies considered in its judgment, which states that these institutions are the ones legally authorized to professionally and customary the operations of receiving money from the public, distributing credit and placing various means of payment at the disposal of clients and managing them.

In its decision, the Court of Cassation held that the admission of the concerned person to the professional conversion of the Moroccan currency into another currency that he trades in a group of electronic platforms for the exchange of financial transactions equivalent to its value in euros or dollars, as well as in electronic currencies using Bitcoin, is considered an illegal transfer and without a license from the Office of the Exchange.

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