Morocco is a country where foreign exchange flows are tightly controlled, and local media outlets have estimated that virtual payments worth around $200,000 (170,000 euros) pass through Morocco each day, although an exact figure is extremely difficult to verify.
The announcement came a week after Moroccan digital services company MTDS said it would accept payment in bitcoin. MTDS said it was the first time the regulator had taken a clear position on bitcoin payments. The company’s head, Karl Stanzik, said it canceled the project shortly after the press release, wishing to comply with Moroccan law, and noted a bitcoin ban would be very difficult to control.
Bellaj Badr, CTO of Mchain and a blockchain consultant based in Marrakech agrees. “I think such decision is inculcated and nonconstructive, as it will not harm the growing adoption of bitcoin in Moroccan society but instead it will harm the ongoing innovative project aiming to harness the blockchain technology,” he said. “I am confident that this decision will change with time when the authorities understand the benefits they can reap from these technologies,” he predicted. He also stated, “although this decision comes as no surprise, I am very disappointed by this ban which harms the country’s image in Africa and worldwide. In fact, we are henceforth counted among the few countries which are illegalizing bitcoin and limiting people’s freedom.”