WALKING in the streets of Harare, I noticed quite a number of shops with adverts of various cryptocurrencies placed on their windows and doors.
I just wondered, is cryptocurrency governed here in Zimbabwe?
Cryptocurrency governance refers to the process by which decisions are made regarding the rules, policies, and direction of a particular cryptocurrency network. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralised and do not have a central authority,
the governance process typically involves a community of users, developers, and other stakeholders who come together to propose, discuss, and implement changes to the network.
Several states have implemented cryptocurrency governance, including the United States. The Japanese government has implemented a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers and has established a framework for the taxation of cryptocurrency transactions.
The Swiss government has established a legal framework for cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses and has implemented a licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers.
Malta has established itself as a hub for cryptocurrency businesses, with the government implementing a pro-cryptocurrency regulatory regime. The Maltese government has established a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers and has also implemented a framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs). The Singaporean government has established a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers and has also implemented a framework for ICOs.
Overall, the approach to cryptocurrency governance varies widely from country to country. Some countries have adopted more permissive regulatory regimes, while others have taken a more cautious approach. The specific approach to cryptocurrency governance will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and sophistication of the local cryptocurrency market, the level of support for cryptocurrencies among regulators and policymakers, and the specific goals and values of the local population.
There are different approaches to cryptocurrency governance, but some of the most common include:
Core development teams
Some cryptocurrencies have a small group of core developers who make decisions about the network’s direction and implementation. These developers are typically chosen based on their technical expertise and are responsible for maintaining the codebase, implementing updates, and addressing bugs and security issues.
Decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs)
A DAO is a decentralised entity that operates through code and smart contracts on a blockchain. In the context of cryptocurrency governance, a DAO can be used to allow token holders to vote on network changes and proposals.
Token holder governance
Some cryptocurrency networks allow token holders to vote on proposals through a process known as “token holder governance”. This approach gives users a direct say in the network’s development, but it can also be prone to manipulation by large token holders.
Some cryptocurrencies use a combination of the above approaches to achieve a balance between decentralisation and efficiency.
Overall, cryptocurrency governance is a complex and evolving field, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every network. The success of a particular governance model depends on a variety of factors, including the size and diversity of the community, the complexity of the network, and the specific goals and values of the stakeholders involved.
Zimbabwe, like any other country, can approach cryptocurrency governance in several ways. Here are some potential steps that Zimbabwe could take to develop a framework for cryptocurrency governance:
Legal and regulatory framework
The first step for Zimbabwe would be to establish a legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. This could involve defining cryptocurrencies as a specific asset class, creating a licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers, and developing rules for the issuance of new cryptocurrencies. Education and awareness campaigns can be important tools for promoting responsible cryptocurrency use and reducing the risk of fraud and other illegal activities.
Zimbabwe could establish consumer protection measures to ensure that users of cryptocurrency platforms are protected against fraud and other forms of exploitation. This could include measures such as requiring exchanges to maintain sufficient reserves to cover user deposits and implementing dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve disputes between users and service providers. Zimbabwe could implement anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges and other service providers. This could help to prevent illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing.
Zimbabwe can collaborate with other countries and international organisations to develop best practices for cryptocurrency governance. This could involve sharing information and expertise with other countries, participating in international forums, and working with industry associations to promote responsible cryptocurrency use.
The approach to cryptocurrency governance in Zimbabwe will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and sophistication of the local cryptocurrency market, the level of support for cryptocurrencies among regulators and policymakers, and the specific goals and values of the Zimbabweans.
Cryptocurrency governance has the potential to improve the Zimbabwean economy in several ways. Here are some potential benefits:
Increased access to capital
Cryptocurrencies can provide individuals and businesses with a new way to access capital. By allowing users to make borderless transactions with low fees, cryptocurrencies can provide an alternative to traditional financing channels. This could be particularly beneficial for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who face challenges in accessing capital due to limited access to credit and other traditional financial services.
Improved financial inclusion
Cryptocurrencies can also improve financial inclusion in Zimbabwe.
Cryptocurrencies are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, which means that people who are excluded from the traditional banking system can still participate in the economy. This could help to reduce poverty and increase economic growth.
Reduced transaction costs
Cryptocurrencies can also reduce transaction costs for individuals and businesses. Traditional financial systems often involve high transaction fees, especially for cross-border transactions. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, can facilitate low-cost and fast transactions, which can reduce the cost of doing business and increase economic activity.
Cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain technology, which provides a transparent and immutable ledger of all transactions. This can help to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the Zimbabwean economy.
The development and adoption of cryptocurrencies can also create new jobs in the Zimbabwean economy. This could include jobs in software development, financial services, and other related fields.
Overall, the potential benefits of cryptocurrency governance for the Zimbabwean economy are significant. However, there are also risks and challenges associated with cryptocurrencies, such as volatility, security risks, and regulatory challenges. Therefore, Zimbabwe needs to approach cryptocurrency governance in a responsible and balanced way, taking into account both the potential benefits and the potential risks.
About the writer: Tinashe Kaduwo is a researcher and economist. Contact: [email protected], WhatsApp +263773376128