Ethiopia’s central bank warns citizens against illegal trading in digital currencies

Ethiopia’s central bank on Monday told Ethiopians not to engage in “illegal” transactions in digital currencies.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) said digital currencies like crypto-currencies and bitcoins have not been recognised by the NBE as a transactional and payment method, state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported.

“Ethiopia’s national currency is the Ethiopian Birr, with any financial transaction in Ethiopia to be paid in Birrs, according to the law,” the NBE said in a statement.

It warned that digital currencies are being used to conduct informal financial transactions and money laundering schemes in Ethiopia.

The NBE called on the public to refrain from trading in digital currencies and to report to authorities when they see such illegal transactions.

Today, Europol, INTERPOL, and the Basel Institute on Governance have formalised the establishment of a tripartite partnership for a working group on money laundering with digital currencies.

The working group will, among other things, aim to gather, analyse, and exchange non-operational information regarding the use of digital currencies as a means of money laundering, and the investigation and recovery of proceeds of crime stored in the same form.

Internet technologies become continuously more advanced, and so do the ways in which criminals utilise them for their illicit and illegal activities.

Among these technologies, digital currencies are already transforming the criminal underworld.

There is a clear consensus that digital currencies pose a money laundering and terrorism financing threat.

A small number of cases have already shown Law Enforcement Agencies that money laundering and terrorism financing can easily take place inside virtual environments.

It has also been proven that virtual environments offer high levels of anonymity and low levels of detection removing many of the risks associated with real-world money laundering and terrorism financing activities.

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