(Bloomberg) --

Botswana’s lawmakers passed a bill to regulate trading in cryptocurrencies and digital tokens as part of efforts to tighten anti-money laundering measures, Finance Minister Peggy Serame said.

The Virtual Assets Bill was approved unanimously on Tuesday, with opposition lawmakers saying leaving the cryptocurrency industry unregulated could cause a “Wild West” of the financial sector and risk eroding the country’s anti-money laundering efforts.

The southern African nation was removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s list of countries subject to more oversight for shortcomings in combating money laundering and terrorist financing in October. 

The legislation comes more than two months after the central bank warned of the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies that are unregulated. The new rules require anyone seeking to offer cryptocurrencies or digital tokens in Botswana to get a license from the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and adhere to a list of conditions.

Botswana joins a plethora of nations such as the U.S., South Africa, Russia and China that are considering or implementing firmer regulations on cryptocurrencies. 

The bill now awaits presidential assent, Serame said Wednesday.


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