HIT best to understand blockchain tech: ZICT

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THE Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technology Division (ZICT) says Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) has some of the best brains in understanding blockchain technology used to develop cryptocurrency, urging the central bank to consult with the university.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

In a statement yesterday, ZICT said cryptocurrency is an extremely enthusiastic idea that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) does not seem to understand.

The body is urging the central bank to engage ICT professionals who could clearly explain the benefits of cryptocurrency.

“RBZ should be in the forefront of these new technology currencies. As ICT professionals, we would like to remind RBZ that cryptocurrency is here to stay and the best we can do is to introduce our very own Zimbabwe cryptocurrency,” ZICT chairman Jacob Mutisi said.

“The Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technology, a division (ZICT) of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers, has endorsed HIT as having some of the best brains when it comes to Block Chain Technology that is used to develop cryptocurrency, urging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to consult with information technology experts from the University.”

ZICT said a cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is not issued by any central bank authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

This comes as ZICT and other information technology experts have called on the central bank to regulate cryptocurrencies rather than banning them outright by engaging people knowledgeable about blockchain technology.
HIT is one of the country’s leading schools in technological studies.

The ban in the use of cryptocurrencies was effected although Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had announced that the economy was 96% cashless. “In Zimbabwe, there are a number of businesses that have emerged in this space over the past few years that include the local cryptocurrency exchanges such as Golix as well as outfits that have been using cryptocurrencies to facilitate remittances such as Bitmari. These businesses have been affected by the RBZ directive,” ZICT said.

The ban on cryptocurrencies was effected in May when RBZ’s registrar of banking institutions Norman Mataruka issued a circular asking all local financial institutions to decline cryptocurrency transactions for fear of possible problems from the unregulated trading platform.

The directive was issued “to protect the public and safeguard the integrity, safety, and soundness of the country’s financial system”.

What this meant was banks were prohibited from investing or trading in cryptocurrency, offering cryptocurrency exchanges, creating platforms for cryptocurrency trading and from advising customers on investing or trading in cryptocurrencies.

Further, depositors were also banned from using credit cards to buy cryptocurrency.

The central bank said cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Zimbabwe and expressed fear that they could end up being used for illegal activities such as money laundering or supporting terrorism.

However, RBZ governor John Mangudya told guests attending the Alpha Media Holdings’ Banks and Banking breakfast meeting in Harare last week that the central bank wanted to embrace blockchain technology.