It has been reported that the central bank of Morocco has instituted a committee to look into the advantages and disadvantages of a digital equivalent of the dirham. This exploratory committee is tasked with studying Bitcoin and other existing digital currencies all of which are currently banned by the Moroccan government.
Local outlet Morocco World News reports that Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) is beginning to soften its position on digital currencies gradually. The new committee has the duty of pinpointing and examining the economic merits and demerits of Morocco adopting a digital equivalent of the dirham. Ledger Insights received confirmation of the committee’s existence from BAM although they were quick to point out that the committee is still in its infancy.
The BAM statement to Ledger insights reads; “The committee will identify and analyze the contributions, the benefits as well as the risks of a CBDC for the national economy. Also, this committee will thoroughly review all consequences of a CBDC on a monetary policy, the structure of banking intermediation, financial stability and legal framework.”
For successful research, the committee will work in conjunction with other local authorities. They will utilise the synergy to create a plan of action for the financial application of the dirham both locally and internationally. Moroccans shouldn’t expect to have the CBDC so quickly. Research carried out by the Bank of International Settlements which stated that the majority of central banks will not issue a CBDC within the next six years has been cited as a reminder of the slow nature of the process by BAM.
According to BAM, “In the current context, and taking into account the various reforms undertaken by Bank Al-Maghrib for the promotion of electronic means of payment and the reduction of cash and whose benefits can only be assessed in the medium term, it would be premature to consider the issuance of a digital currency in the short term.”
Although Moroccans are still forbidden from owning or trading on Bitcoin, they would welcome a digital dirham with open arms. The North African nation’s Ministry of finance placed a ban on all digital currencies in the country.
The ministry informed the public that trading in digitals currencies is an infringement of the established exchange regulations and defaulters are therefore liable to penalties. They made this known through a statement released through the Office des Changes. According to the statement, the strict measures are necessary because digital currencies are “Secretive payment systems” and “Involve significant risk for users.“
Even with the current ban, local reports suggest that the digital currency industry in Morocco remains very much alive. Morocco, which is the fifth-largest economy in Africa continues to maintain its place as one of the top digital currency hubs in Africa. It is reported that the North African country is just behind South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya in the volume of digital currency trades conducted.