Morocco first in North Africa for bitcoin trading
Estimates from Triple A, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency provider and aggregator, say that 0.9 million people, or roughly 2.4% of Morocco’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency. This places it as the first country in North Africa and among the top 50 holders of the largest percentage of the population that own cryptocurrencies, just ahead of Portugal.
Data from Useful Tulips, a platform that tracks peer-to-peer BTC trading around the world, confirms the trend. Unfortunately for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, there has been no change in cryptocurrency laws in recent years. According to the Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office, the country will not support a “hidden payment system that is not supported by any financial institution”. While the law went into effect in 2017, the ban has not hindered the adoption of cryptocurrencies and, as the data show, Moroccan enthusiasts continue to circumvent the ruling.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian pound is gaining against the Moroccan dirham for BTC trading. In 30 days, according to UsefulTulips, Egypt received only $ 20,000 from Morocco. Trading in BTC and cryptocurrencies in Egypt remains illegal, but even if a small percentage of its 102 million inhabitants and 360 billion dollars of GDP engaged in “illicit” activity, it would make a difference.
To strengthen Morocco’s green future, Harmattan Energy is ready to build one of the largest wind farms in Africa. The purpose of the wind farm of the 900 MW giant located in Dakhla, in the Sahara region, is to “power the blockchain computing”. As bitcoin mining and trading are currently outlawed, the group cannot openly declare bitcoin mining.
However, as Cointelegraph reported on the project’s call for tenders in 2018, selling at least 20% of its electricity generation to the Moroccan government could be a viable solution. Initial results are expected from Harmattan at the end of the first quarter of this year.
Elsewhere, in April 2020, Binance added support for cryptocurrency purchases using the Moroccan dirham via a third-party platform, Simplex. It works the same way Naira purchases for BTC do in Nigeria. It’s not as easy to buy BTC on Binance as it is in neighboring UAE, which has a direct fiat ramp, but it’s a promising start.
Time will tell if Moroccan lawmakers back down on the Bitcoin ban. At present, Morocco will continue to excel in North Africa when it comes to bitcoin trading, even if it remains an underground business.