The Outlooker 05

Morocco's government remains staunchly against crypto since 2017, but a new regulatory bill begins to emerge.

The Promontory

Morocco has prohibited the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions since 2017.  Presently, the lack of regulations make it difficult to curb crimes involving Bitcoin. Nonetheless, the government arrested 7 individuals for the illegal use of Bitcoin and dismantled a network that facilitated the exchange of Bitcoin. Morocco is set to implement a wind farm for Bitcoin mining in the future, showing some hope for crypto in the country. However, while Bitcoin purchases soar and a crypto regulation bill is reviewed - the government remains hesitant to fully embrace cryptocurrency.

Latest updates on cryptocurrency laws in Morocco

The prohibition of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions has been in effect since November 20th, 2017. According to the Moroccan exchange office, the reasons behind the ban were due to the lack of regulation, and the possible dangers it may pose to people in possession of cryptocurrencies. Although cryptocurrencies have been banned, the government has no practical means of enforcing the ban. A bulk of the warnings have been addressed by the Foreign Exchange Authority, the Capital Market Authority, and the Central Bank of Morocco - with no real strict implementation practices.

Abdellatif Jouahiri cryptocurrency Morocco Central Bank of Morocco
Abdellatif Jouahiri pushes for solid crypto regulations in Morocco.

Abdellatif Jouahiri, the governor of the Central Bank of Morocco - held meetings with the IMF and World Bank last March, seeking to establish a common regulatory framework to govern cryptocurrencies. The Central Bank doesn't fully oppose the adoption of cryptocurrencies, but stressed the importance of legislative rules before approval. Despite the current ban on crypto in Morocco, advances are being made by the Central Bank to regulate it.

Moroccan police arrest 7 individuals and seize ill gains

One Casablancan security services officer and police officer were arrested along with 5 other individuals for being involved in a criminal network. This included activities revolving around kidnapping and identity theft, with the intent for extortion. Police inspections were conducted at the homes of the individuals, leading to the seizure of a motorcycle, four cars, and several mobile phones.

The start of the investigation revealed that one of the suspects had lured a victim to an illegal exchange. The corrupt officials exercised their power as officers to arrest the victim, with the goal of blackmail. Thankfully, multiple security interventions were conducted to seize the money from the illegal transfers. All suspects have all been placed in custody with consequences well underway.

Central Bank plans to unveil a crypto regulation bill

Despite the ban on cryptocurrencies and ownership, 2.4% of Morocco's population trades and owns cryptocurrency - the highest concentration of active crypto users in North Africa. LocalBitcoins reported an all-time P2P trading high for Morocco, with approximately $900,000 worth of Bitcoin traded on the platform. There was also a huge increase in user registration between 2019 and 2020. While financial regulators continue to observe crypto with skepticism, Morocco's Central Bank investigates the benefits of launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

A Moroccan central bank committee, Bank Al-Maghrib, and governor Abdellatif Jouahri - are working together on a cryptocurrency regulation framework. They plan to address the country's remaining questions through this bill, with the aim of providing more clarity on financial regulations and best practices for crypto. While the Central Bank previously conceded to Moroccans adopting cryptocurrencies - the ministry of finance still remains skeptical.

Blockchain firm Soluna aims to construct 900MW wind farm

Soluna was recently founded in 2018 and acquired in 2021 by Harmattan Energy, Ltd. According to Reuters, the initial off-grid phase began in 2019 - with the potential to connect to the national grid in the future.

"Harmattan inspired our entire business model for Soluna, and it will be an important proving ground as the first-of-its-kind, vertically integrated wind, and blockchain computing project."

John Belizaire, Co-founder of Soluna

wind farm Morocco cryptocurrency crypto
A wind farm megaproject plans to to mine cryptocurrency using clean energy.

Harmattan Energy, the leading developer of green data centers for batchable computing - is a big believer in the benefits of crypto. Since mining Bitcoin takes huge amounts of processing power and electricity, Harmattan plans on doing this in a more sustainable way. They've developed vertically-integrated, utility-scale projects that combine renewable energy power plants with a 900MW wind site. Ultimately, their goal is to bring a low-cost and sustainable infrastructure layer to the blockchain.

The Intel

Morocco's ban on cryptocurrencies started in 2017.  The government lacks regulations to properly fine crypto transactions, and multiple arrests have happened within the country - including clamping down on an illegal blockchain network. The central bank plans to adopt its own digital currency with a regulatory framework brewing in its early stages. A wind farm is also well underway to promote sustainable Bitcoin farming. Despite the prohibition of cryptocurrencies in Morocco, the country is warming up to it - with a possible future with crypto.

DISCLOSURE:

‌‌‌‌This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. Charts, graphs and references to any digital assets are for informational and illustrative purposes only.

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