Ghana Joins the Bandwagon — Plans for CBDC, Still Wary of Crypto

Ghana is maintaining a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies despite its central bank’s plans to launch a CBDC pilot in 2020.
Ghana is maintaining a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies despite its central bank’s plans to launch a digital currency in the new year. Over the past five years, the West African country has become the fastest-growing mobile money market on the continent. The burgeoning number of mobile money users is proof that digitized payments systems are providing a means for people to become financially active.According to a 2019 economic analysis by the World Bank, the number of registered mobile money accounts in the country exploded from just 3.8 million to 23.9 million between 2012 and 2017.The statistics alone speak volumes to the power of mobile networks in providing a means for previously unbanked or financially-excluded people to transact money remotely. Mobile phones are giving a large number of Ghanaians the chance to become financially active without having to use cash or card services. The move to mobile payments has not gone unnoticed by the country’s central bank. At the end of November 2019, the Bank of Ghana announced plans to explore the use of a central bank digital currency in the new year.Bank of Ghana governor Dr. Ernest Addison revealed that the bank has been working on a pilot project with a number of stakeholders to test the issuance and use of a digital currency. The announcement was made at Ghana’s National Banking Conference at the end of November. The move is an effort by the nation’s authorities to stay abreast of the increasing volume of mobile money users in Ghana and drive the digitization of its financial sector.Crypto unregulated in GhanaThe surge in popularity and users of mobile money services in the country does not necessarily mean that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are enjoying the same level of success in Ghana.Cryptocurrencies are currently unregulated in the West African nation, and there are no laws governing their use — a fact which has been confirmed by the Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission to Cointelegraph.While the sector remains unregulated, the Ghana SEC issued a public warning to investors in March 2019. The note cautions investors to do their due diligence when dealing with unregistered or unlicensed trading platforms touting “high returns on investment.”In its warning letter, the SEC listed 24 cryptocurrencies that have gained prominence worldwide, including BTC, ETH, LTC and XRP, while clearly stipulating that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender in the country.When asked for a general gauge of the level of interest in cryptocurrencies in Ghana, the SEC’s policy research department manager, Frank Donkor, told Cointelegraph that an in-depth market study has yet to be undertaken:“We have not conducted a market survey to determine the interest in cryptocurrencies, however, as indicated in the public notice, people are attracted to it because of the promises of high returns on their investments.”Donkor also dismissed various reports earlier this year by local media outlets that suggested the local SEC

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