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The Financial Express

Cryptocurrency trading neither legal nor crime: BB

| Updated: August 01, 2021 02:17:36


Cryptocurrency trading neither legal nor crime: BB

Bangladesh Bank is yet to recognize cryptocurrency as a legal currency, but has made it clear that the ownership or transaction of the digital currency is not a crime.

The Foreign Exchange Policy Department of the central bank made the clarification in response to an inquiry by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police.

It also said that the BB didn't change its previous stance not to recognise cryptocurrency, according to a letter to the CID, issued by assistant director of the BB department Shafiul Azam dated May 18 last.

"Even if the ownership, preservation or transaction of cryptocurrency is not recognised, it does not appear to be a crime," he explained the central bank's position.

According to the letter, transactions in virtual currencies can, however, be listed as crimes in the second phase of the Foreign Exchange Control Act 1947, Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2012.

Bangladesh Bank spokesperson and executive director Md. Serajul Islam said the central bank's position didn't change at all.

"We don't recognise cryptocurrency as legal currency," he told FE.

The BB has so far not allowed transactions or reserves in such private currencies.

Bangladesh Bank issued its first "warning" against the use of Bitcoin in 2014.

The warning included caution towards transacting in any artificial currency as this could involve unauthorised actions stated in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 and the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012.

At the initiative of the Foreign Exchange Policy Department, the central bank had issued a warning on December24, 2016 on their website asking people to refrain from trading in artificial currencies (such as Bitcoin).

At that time, BB said in a statement that "transactions in virtual currency may violate anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws."

The central bank is yet to formulate any policy on cryptocurrency.

Earlier throughout the month of June, RAB members arrested a number of people from the capital on charges of trading or possessing cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions.

Much of the interest in these unregulated currencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.

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