The Legislative Landscape of Cryptocurrencies in Angola Prior to 2024

Angola’s approach to cryptocurrencies prior to 2024 was marked by caution and a lack of formal regulation, reflecting the country’s tentative stance towards this emerging financial technology.

Initially, the Angolan government and the Central Bank did not issue any formal regulations or guidance on the legality and usage of crypto assets. As of 2018, a study by Ecobank highlighted this lack of regulatory clarity. While the use of crypto assets was not explicitly illegal, the government advised against its use, citing financial insecurity concerns​​.

This cautious approach began to shift in September 2020, when José de Lima Massano, the Governor of the Central Bank of Angola, announced that the bank would begin assessing the risks and potential benefits of crypto assets. This marked a notable departure from the previous hesitancy. The Central Bank expressed an early-stage interest in evaluating whether adopting crypto assets would be beneficial for Angola, suggesting an openness to the advantages of crypto assets and blockchain technology​​.

In line with this evolving perspective, the National Bank of Angola issued a Request for Information (RFI) regarding blockchain solutions for the Angolan financial system in October 2019. This indicated a growing interest in blockchain technology’s role in modernizing the financial sector​​.

Moreover, Angola’s gradual integration of mobile banking, with three mobile money providers operating in the market as reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), showed a step towards improving financial inclusion. This development hinted at a potential environment for integrating crypto assets into Angola’s financial landscape, especially given the Central Bank’s ongoing studies which could strengthen the legal framework for payment systems, mobile money, and possibly crypto assets​​.

However, as of the time of writing, Angola had not explicitly declared cryptocurrency illegal, nor had it officially recognized it as legal tender. This meant that while individuals could technically own and trade cryptocurrencies, there were no specific laws or regulations governing their use. The absence of explicit laws or regulations left a significant gap in legal protection for users and traders of cryptocurrencies. Individuals dealing with cryptocurrencies were advised to exercise caution and understand the potential risks involved​​​​.

In the context of cryptocurrency trading and gambling, the lack of regulation and legal recognition made the environment potentially risky. While no explicit laws banned cryptocurrency trading, the undefined legal status required individuals to seek legal advice and be aware of the potential risks. The same applied to cryptocurrency gambling – not explicitly illegal, but advisable to seek legal advice given the general unregulated status of online gambling in Angola​​​​.

In summary, Angola’s legislative landscape for cryptocurrencies prior to 2024 can be characterized as a journey from caution to a more proactive assessment. The government, while concerned about financial risks, showed increasing openness to exploring the benefits of crypto assets and blockchain technology. Yet, the absence of specific laws and regulations meant that individuals and entities dealing with cryptocurrencies had to navigate a landscape of uncertainty and potential risks, necessitating a cautious and well-informed approach.

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