Botswana’s government is set to introduce a “Virtual Assets Bill” to the country’s parliament, a move that could see it become one of the first countries in Africa to have laws regulating cryptocurrencies. .
Prevent the proliferation of risks associated with cryptos
A Botswana government draft paper that proposes to regulate new and developing virtual asset businesses, as well as endowing a regulator with its functions and powers, is now set to be presented to lawmakers in the country, a recent report has revealed. government gazette.
The planned introduction of the Virtual Assets Bill alongside other bills such as the Financial Intelligence Bill comes just over two months after the country’s central bank warned residents engaged in the cryptocurrency trading that Botswana did not have a regulatory framework to govern this trade.
Yet in the draft that was published in the Extraordinary Government Gazette on December 23, Botswana authorities suggest that they not only seek to recognize crypto trading, but plan to include “provisions to manage, mitigate and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing” in the bill. The project also aims to prevent proliferation risks associated with virtual assets and new emerging business practices and technologies.
Regarding companies or entities that issue tokens, the draft law specifies:
Part III further provides that the Regulatory Authority may grant a license if the applicant demonstrates that it has the necessary infrastructure and resources to carry out the business activities of a virtual asset service provider or of an issuer of initial token offerings and that the applicant is a fit and suitable person. The definition of “fit and proper” is provided in subsection 11(2) pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Act.
Elsewhere, the draft explains when the regulator can grant an operating license to applicants. For their part, licensees are required to protect customer-owned assets. They are also supposed to “prevent market abuse and provide measures for the acquisition of a beneficial interest in their businesses”.
Mandatory white paper issuance
Regarding the advertising of token offerings, the draft states:
“Part IV further provides that a licensee must publish a white paper containing complete and accurate information for potential purchasers of virtual assets and initial token offerings to make informed decisions.”
Meanwhile, some crypto enthusiasts have speculated that Botswana’s proposal to change its financial laws may be linked to the country’s removal of countries from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) gray list in October 2021. The FATF had previously cited shortcomings in the country’s fight against money laundering. (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) regimes as reasons to flag the country.
However, at the end of 2021 – almost three years after being greylisted – the FATF said it had removed Botswana from the list after seeing some improvement.
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