Use Bitcoin at own risk
The Bank of Namibia recently made it categorically clear that it does not support the use of virtual currencies. The Central Bank will also in due course release an opinion paper on the uses of Bitcoin, its spokesperson, Emma Haiyambo said.
Speaking on the matter, she said in an emailed reply to the Economist, “virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are not designated or authorized as payment instruments in Namibia. The Bank is currently assessing the risks associated with such virtual currencies.”
Haiyambo further pointed out, “the public is therefore informed that the Bank does not currently oversee, supervise or regulate the virtual currency landscape in as far as its integrity, soundness, effectiveness, safety or robustness are concerned. Therefore, anyone who uses such virtual currencies do so at own risk and does not have any recourse to the Bank.”
She explained that consumers are not guaranteed regulatory protection for their decision to use virtual currencies. “At the moment there is no specific regulatory protection that exists to compensate the owner or user of virtual currency, including Bitcoin for any loss that may be suffered, should the business fail or ceases to exist. Due to this fact, the public is informed that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are not legal tender nor authorized payment instruments to operate in Namibia. The Bank will however, bring out a position pertaining to virtual currencies in due course.”
Explaining what was currently recognised as Electronic money, Haiyambo said, “Electronic money as defined in the Bank’s Determination on the issuance of e-money, is a designated payment instrument which has monetary value as represented by a claim on its issuer. Electronic money in Namibia is generally stored electronically; issued on receipt of funds; accepted as a means of payment by persons other than the issuer and redeemable upon demand for cash denominated in Namibia Dollar.”