Morocco’s central bank is again considering digital currencies four years after the country banned cryptocurrencies.
Rabat – Morocco’s central bank, Bank-Al-Maghrib (BAM), has established an exploratory committee to investigate the merits of a central bank-run cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies have experienced widespread attention since the success of bitcoin. The virtual currency, run via blockchain technology, was initially roundly mocked but now stands at a total value of almost $1 trillion.
This year alone bitcoin has gained 81% in value, with a single bitcoin now priced at over half a million dirhams (roughly $53,000). With changing global opinions and attitudes toward bitcoin, Morocco’s BAM is having another look at the technology.
Although bitcoin was officially banned for use in Morocco in 2017, the cryptocurrency continues to be popular in Morocco, with only Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya trading more bitcoins on the African continent.
The growing popularity of bitcoin will be a topic of investigation for BAM’s new committee as Morocco’s central bank can no longer ignore the growing prominence of cryptocurrencies used worldwide.
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While BAM continues to take cautious approach to the blockchain-driven currencies, it’s new committee will investigate whether the institution could issue its own cryptocurrency.
Such a “Central Bank Digital Currency” (CBDC) is being considered by several central banks, with China’s central bank already moving ahead with a “digital yuan” that could eventually challenge the dollar.
Bam’s committee is tasked with investigating the evolution of cryptocurrencies after years of apprehension.
As speculative nature of cryptocurrencies appears to continue to worry many at the risk-averse Bank-Al-Maghrib, the new committee will essentially proceed to “identify and analyze” the main advantages and drawbacks of a BAM-issued CDBC for the Moroccan economy.