Mthuli Ncube’s visit to Dubai crypto hub shows government unaware of local startups

Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday posted a tweet saying he had visited the DMCC Encryption Center to Dubai. If you’ve never heard the name DMCC before, the company offers a number of services, including crypto blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

If you’ve followed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s protracted battle with crypto and their trading over the years, this visit by the Minister of Finance is both surprising and not and here’s why. After Golix was shut down, cryptocurrencies became almost taboo for all senior levels of government.

One of the main theories behind the government’s dislike of cryptos is that cryptos and blockchain technology are not easy to regulate. By that I mean the RBZ would not have as much control over them as it does over fiat money. An example of how many cryptocurrencies aren’t even on the RBZ’s radar is their exclusion from the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. This sent the message that the central bank, and by extension, the government doesn’t even want to experiment with the technology.

Mthuli Ncube did not oppose crypto

In 2018, Professor Mthuli Ncube, when new to his post, said the RBZ needs to take advantage of cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe and develop enabling regulations.

Zimbabwe should invest in understanding innovations and often central banks are too slow to invest in these technologies… But there are other countries that are moving faster. If you look at the Swiss central bank that they invest in and understand bitcoin …… .One can pay for a trip using bitcoin in Switzerland …… ..So if those countries can see value there and where it is heading, we should also be careful… ..we have innovative young people, so the idea should not be to stop it and say not to do this, but rather regulators should invest to catch up with them and find ways to do it. understand, then you set it because you understand it now

Even more recently, in my conversation with former Monetary Policy Committee member Eddie Cross, he said Minister Ncube was not opposed to the idea of ​​cryptos in Zimbabwe. All of this suggests that there are other forces at work here that could even exceed Professor Mthuli Ncube’s level of pay.

This means it would be safe to take what he said about finding a solution to making remittances cheaper with a grain of salt. This whole trip to Dubai could have been an exploratory excursion by the Minister of Finance. It would be quite the turn of events if, upon its return, the government suddenly did an about-face on cryptos. That being said, the trip itself raises an important question …

There are crypto startups in Zim, why go to Dubai?

“Proudly Zimbabwean” was a phrase that was used by the government at one point to try to instill some pride in what we have done in Zimbabwe. With that in mind, why would the Minister of Finance travel all the way to the United Arab Emirates to find solutions to the problems that we should be trying to solve on our own? The minister’s tweet caught the attention of an entrepreneur who is in the Zimbabwe crypto space.

If you are not familiar with FlexFinTx (@Flex_Tx), led by Victor Mapunga, is a local blockchain startup that seeks to give the nearly 400 million people on the continent without proper identification, self-sovereign digital identities, accessible even without the Internet.

This year alone, it became the first Zimbabwean startup to be selected for the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Cohort. As a perspective, this cohort is the same that Twitter, Spotify Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, and Mozilla all participated in in their early days.

With a startup like this and others like Dystater, Uhuru wallet, and even ZimboCash, why would the minister seek solutions in the UAE? Shouldn’t there be a concerted effort on the part of the government to work with the innovators here who are closer to our problems?

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