The High Court in Harare, Zimbabwe has issued an interim order lifting the nationwide cryptocurrency ban decreed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 11 May 2018. Apparently, officials from the Reserve Bank, including Governor John Mangudya, failed to show up at court, resulting in a default judgement against them.
The lawsuit was brought forth against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by Golix, a cryptocurrency exchange which is based in Africa and one of three primary cryptocurrency exchanges that operate in Zimbabwe, the other two being Bitfinance and Styx24.
In the lawsuit, Golix argued that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had no jurisdiction to ban cryptocurrency, since that is equivalent to lawmaking which is a power reserved for parliament. Therefore, by banning cryptocurrency, the Reserve Bank was infringing on the parliament’s power.
The temporary lifting of the ban has brought great relief to Zimbabwean cryptocurrency traders. Golix is hoping to get back to business immediately and is aiming to begin processing trades in their order book which has been on halt due to the ban.
It is unknown whether banks will cooperate with the temporary lifting of the cryptocurrency ban. There was supposed to be a 60-day grace period after the issuance of the decree which occurred on 11 May 2018, but within a week banks were already refusing to facilitate withdraws from Golix. Since the banks didn’t even follow the order of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to give cryptocurrency users 60 days to get their affairs in order, it seems they have some independence regarding the decision to allow cryptocurrency trading through their respective banks, and if they decide not to cooperate Golix won’t be able to function.
While this is a big win for cryptocurrency in Zimbabwe, it is only a temporary order and there will have to be more court proceedings before a final decision is made. The only thing that is certain is a big legal battle is about to ensue between cryptocurrency and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and this battle will determine cryptocurrency’s future in the Southeast African nation.
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