Bitcoin is back on the radar as Zimbabwe’s economy continues to fight destabilization.
The government of Zimbabwe has introduced a new law banning use of the U.S Dollar, forcing its citizens to opt for national currency instead.
The government has re-introduced the Zimbabwe Dollar which it banned from circulation back in 2009. This was done as a move to try stabilizing the economy. The re-introduction of the currency by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has led to the government banning its settling of domestic transactions using foreign fiat currency.
The government has been trying to control re-dollarization of the economy and also, tame the increasing pressure from workers unions’ demands of salary payment in foreign currency.
Although the new policy, introduced on June 24, has taken effect on formal businesses, it has also awakened the cryptocurrency business in the land. Consequently, the local price for Bitcoin has gone up in Zimbabwe according to locabitcoins. A year ago, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banned local banks from processing transactions involving Bitcoin. However, crypto enthusiasts in the country say peer-to-peer trade in Bitcoin is growing with EcoCash being the major payment platform for Bitcoin traders.
Although Bitcoin is illegal in Zimbabwe, citizens prefer to risk using it in order to avoid losing their purchasing power. Bitcoin trading has increased so much in Zimbabwe to an extent; that it’s a major BTC market in the southern part of Africa. Currently, investors and speculators alike are turning to Bitcoin; as a more stable storage of value, than the new Zollar; which is quit uncertain.
Over the past week, traders have been using platforms such as PayPal, MoneyBookers and Western Union; to settle transactions using hard US dollar for Bitcoin trades outside the country. This is mainly because Zimbabweans can no longer use foreign currency to settle local transactions.
Bitcoin has become a virtual cushion to shield citizens from the terrible decisions by their leaders. Sooner, Zimbabwe might become the biggest market for cryptocurrencies in Africa.