The government of Uganda is reportedly set to regulate cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as crypto-related schemes are seemingly on the rise in the country. Several of the country’s policymakers have called on regulations to protect the public.
According to local news outlet Independent, Uganda’s Minister of State for Finance David Bahati revealed the government is set to introduce a new bill regulating cryptocurrencies while responding to concerns raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) over the ongoing rise of unregulated pyramid schemes.
He was quoted as saying:
In October, Cabinet approved the National Payment System Bill. We intend to bring it to Parliament next month so that it caters for all these forms of digital financial transactions.
Mathias Mpuuga, the representative of the Masaka Municipality, replied that there are “agencies dealing in crypto currency but are defrauding people,” and queried the government as to why it “would allow such agencies to operate in the country.”
Mpuuga reportedly named what he called “agencies posing as cryptocurrency dealers,” which included “Ripcoin, Namecoin and Bitcoin.” Per his words, there’s currently no legal framework to supervise these “dealers.”
He added that a pyramid scheme called Telex Free swindled various investors, including some MPs. To the policymaker, the influx of unregulated “digital currency dealers” should be addressed as a “potential bomb” the government should protect its citizens from.
Responding, Bahati claimed the government was aware of fraud cases related to cryptocurrency dealers, and reminded the parliament that earlier this year the central bank of Uganda, the Bank of Uganda, warned against trading bitcoin and other cryptos.
The Central Bank said Bitcoin and all these agencies are not under their control; we advised Ugandans to go slow and be cautious.
He added that those who trade cryptocurrencies were further cautioned not to do so on unregulated platforms. Odonga Otto, another MP, intervened to ask the Finance Ministry to “go beyond warnings and defend the population.” He was quoted as saying:
I am currently privy to a case in court of one of the pyramid schemes called D9 that has defrauded many Ugandans including some MPs yet there is no legal regime in which people can claim their money.
Notably, the cryptocurrency scene has seemingly been growing in Uganda. As CryptoGlobe covered Binance, the number one cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has opened a fiat-to-crypto platform in the country, which gained a massive 40,000 sign-ups in its opening week.