Home Business BAK extends hearing window for bill seeking to tame crypto fraud

BAK extends hearing window for bill seeking to tame crypto fraud

The Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) has given those interested in submitting their input in the draft Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) bill to do so before the document is presented to the National Assembly.

The association says the decision to extend hearing period stems from growing interest from new stakeholders such as international development organizations, government agencies and other stakeholders affected by elements in the bill.

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BAK was mandated by he National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee in November last year to draft a framework to govern the cryptocurrency in a bid to tame rising cases of  cryptocurrency scams that have seen many Kenyans lose millions of shillings online.

“The Virtual Asset Service Provider Bill is a significant milestone towards curbing the rampant crypto currency related scams that thrive and continue to defraud Kenyans of millions of shillings because of the lack of frameworks to protect the public,” said Michael Kimani, BAK Chairman.

The association was expected to submit the draft document to the National Assembly Committee on February  14, 2023 before announcement of the extension period.

The extended feedback period is intended to invite comments from all stakeholders affected directly or indirectly by elements of the Virtual Asset Service Providers bill.

Cryptocurrency scams are among online crimes that are expected to increase this year as use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) gains traction.

Recently, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) cautioned Kenyans against increasing the number of scammers stealing from them using cryptocurrency scams.

“The DCI has noticed with concern the increase in reports of loss of hard-earned money by Kenyans to scammers. Scores are being lured to join online cryptocurrency investment platforms and end up losing their investments to fraudsters,” DCI stated.

It is this reason, amongst others, that the association was mandated to draft a bill which sets out consumer protection guidelines and a licensing framework to ensure Kenyans are protected as best as possible.

Since 2015, when the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) issued a notice warning banks not to work with cryptocurrency companies, much of the cryptocurrency activities have gone unnoticed by authorities.

In addition, legitimate companies that hope to set up formal complaint businesses to service Kenyans are unable to operate in the country.

The result has been there is no clear recourse for addressing cases of fraud arising from cryptocurrency and no clearly established business to serve consumers that are legitimately interested in digital assets.

BAK hopes to submit the bill to parliament as soon as it is ready in order to help protect Kenyans and attract legitimate cryptocurrency businesses into the country.

In the meantime, the lobby group invites its community, interested stakeholders such as government agencies, international development organizations and private sector to participate in its upcoming forums and workshops for education and awareness on the impact of the bill.

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