© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – Central Africa’s regional banking regulator sent out a reminder on Friday about its ban on the use of cryptocurrencies, weeks after the Central African Republic, a member state, made bitcoin legal tender.
The Banking Commission of Central Africa (COBAC) – which regulates the banking sector in the six-nation Central African CEMAC zone – said the prohibition was meant to ensure financial stability.
The announcement came as cryptocurrencies nursed large losses on Friday after the collapse of TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, rippled through markets.
The Central African Republic’s presidency announced on April 27 that bitcoin had been made legal tender, making it only the second country in the world to do so after El Salvador.
At the time, analysts and crypto experts said they were puzzled by the move in one of world’s poorest nations where internet use is low, conflict is widespread and electricity is unreliable.
The government has provided few details about its reasoning and could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
The banking commission held a special meeting on May 6 to examine the impact of cryptocurrencies in the zone, it said in the statement issued on Friday.
“In order to guarantee financial stability and preserve client deposits, COBAC recalled certain prohibitions related to the use of crypto-assets in CEMAC,” it said.
These include the holding of cryptocurrencies of any kind, the exchange, conversion or settlement of transactions relating to cryptocurrencies and a bar on them being used as a means of evaluating assets or liabilities, it said.
“COBAC has decided to take a number of measures aimed at setting up a system for identifying and reporting operations related to cryptocurrencies,” it added.