Myanmar’s Apex Bank Says Digital Currencies are Prohibited
Cryptocurrency, News

Myanmar’s Apex Bank Says Digital Currencies are Prohibited

As participants in the cryptocurrency space are clamoring for wider adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as well as regulations to govern the space, some governments have taken steps in that direction, some are considering it while others still seem uninterested.

According to the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM), cryptocurrencies are not recognized as an official currency and imprisonment or fine is waiting for anyone caught trading digital assets. The new development was revealed by the Myanmar Times on May 20, noting that the CBM was alerted by people with access to an online payment method who bought into the rising Bitcoin trend and the frequent local advertising for exchanges on social media.

In the report by the Myanmar Times, CBM’s announcement noted that the acceptance or facilitation of transactions with cryptocurrencies is forbidden. However, local cryptocurrency supporters dispute whether the apex bank’s pronouncements have any force in law. 

The CBM mentioned four digital currencies being traded from personal Facebook profiles as subject to regulations enforced by the CBM. The Digital currencies include Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Perfect Money (PM). Anyone trading in such assets may spend years in prison or pay heavy fines, says the bank.

Cryptocurrency traders in the locality said the bank does not have power over enforcement and they appear undeterred by the announcement. According to U Nyein Chan Soe Win of platform Get Myanmar, the bank only announced and is yet to prohibit the use of digital assets under the law; hence, trading in cryptocurrencies is legal because any official law is nonexistent.

In 2019, the apex bank encouraged consumers to stop trading in digital currencies amid fears that inexperienced users could lose money. 

However, it seems there are no mechanisms or any legal framework for regulation or blockage of cryptocurrency use although the bank is trying to let people know that cryptocurrencies are not authorized in the country.

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Sudarshan M is a long time crypto-enthusiast. Pulled in by bitcoin early on, it did not take long for Sudarshan to divert all of his academic attention from business studies to blockchain by doing his Masters and eventually pursuing his PhD in the subject.