After reports that Tanzanian President Samia Hassan had asked her finance chief to look into cryptocurrencies, Tunisia has become the latest African country to signal a willingness to embrace digital assets. According to remarks attributed to Ali Kooli, Tunisia’s economy minister, the North African state will soon move to decriminalize the buying of bitcoin. This comes after the recently reported arrest of a 17-year-old crypto user.
According to reports, Minister Kooli says he wants to decriminalize the purchase of bitcoin in order to avoid having another Tunisian youth jailed. This by way of running afoul of the country’s unclear cryptocurrency regulation. He said in a recent TV interview:
I will change the law, we cannot put a Tunisian young man in prison for buying bitcoin.
The government official’s remarks follow recent Tunisian reports of the arrest of a 17-year-old crypto user by law enforcement. After the teenager’s reported arrest on suspicion of money laundering, in light of the country’s lack of clear crypto laws, some members of Tunisia’s blockchain community slammed the government’s heavy-handed approach. In addition, on social media crypto enthusiasts and sympathizers launched a movement that denounced the crypto user’s arrest.
Meanwhile, with these comments, Minister Kooli becomes the latest Tunisian official to embrace crypto. In 2020, Marouane Abbasi, governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, said the country needed to follow bitcoin and had to prepare for effective monitoring of its use cases.
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