While governments and institutions are gradually opening up to the blockchain sector, this is not the case in Egypt. The country’s Central Bank has indeed renewed its warning that cryptocurrency holders could face significant penalties, including jail time.
In Egypt, cryptocurrency holders face jail time
There are countries like El Salvador, which make Bitcoin (BTC) a legal currency, and there are countries like Egypt, where cryptocurrencies are banned, and violators punished with great firmness. And this will not change soon, it seems. Local media outlet Egypt Independent reported this week, for example, that the Central Bank has renewed particularly strict warnings.
Those who choose to trade cryptocurrencies in Egypt face a fine of up to 10 million Egyptian pounds, or more than 51,000 euros at current prices. The rules are clear: any use of crypto-assets is prohibited:
“The law of the Central Bank of Egypt and the banking system […] prohibits the issuance, exchange and promotion of cryptocurrencies, the creation or operation of platforms to exchange them, as well as any related activities.”
The statement says that any violator “will be imprisoned,” and a fine will be applied on top of that.
An increasingly rare positioning
The Central Bank of Egypt justifies this extremely tough stance with a desire to protect its citizens from “high-risk” investments. It is also the country’s Islamic institution, the Dar al-Ifta, which in recent years has issued a fatwa against Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies. The latter are considered haram, i.e. forbidden by Islam.
Egypt is one of a very small number of countries to have banned cryptocurrencies, which are by and large allowed and regulated around the world. This makes it particularly distinctive at a time when other central banks are more likely to be open to blockchain, especially in their digital currency projects (MNBC).