Maldives Monetary Authority: Crypto Not Legal Tender, Permission Not Granted

The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has, “caution(ed) the general public on the use of crypto currency and other virtual currencies,” in the small archipelago nation lying southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, though the overall status of cryptocurrencies there remains grey.

The press release from the MMA titled “Concerns over crypto currency trading in the Maldives” dated October 11th, 2018, states:

“The MMA brings to the attention of the public that no party has been granted permission to conduct any financial transactions using crypto currencies or other virtual currencies in the Maldives. Furthermore, the issuance of any legal tender by any other party is against the law.”

The MMA functions both as the central bank in the Maldives and as regulator of the country’s financial sector.

The MMA states that, pursuant to laws established in 1981, the MMA is “the sole issuer of the Maldivian currency,” and reminds, “international money remittance businesses as well as money exchange businesses,” that they too are governed by the same act (Law no. 6/81).

The MMA says the release was prompted after it noticed social media advertisements promoting, “the trading of crypto currencies or other virtual currencies in the Maldives.”

A website called cointobuy.io has given the Maldives a 2.4/10 “safety ranking” regarding the country’s friendliness towards crypto and ICO (initial coin offering) investing based on the level of ICO restriction in the country and on user votes.

Overall, Cointobuy.io ranks the Maldives as 134th out of 249 countries ranked for crypto friendliness.

The website says that 1 ICO project has prohibited citizens in the Maldives from participating and that no Bitcoin exchanges currently operate in the territory.

An online Bitcoin trading platform targeting citizens of the Maldives called Dhicoins, however, can be located via a simple Google search.

A blog post written a year ago describes the political economy of the Maldives, and says the area has, “a small economy, where fishing, tourism and shipping constitutes the bulk of GDP.”

Regarding the state of crypto in the Maldives, writer Svjatoslav (Svet) Sedov is not very optimistic:

“(The) Maldivian legal system has not yet recognized the existence of cryptocurrencies. It makes buying and selling Bitcoins or organizing ICOs technically legal in this country. However, it also places crypto in the legal gray zone. Giving (sic) the current anti-liberal trend in Maldivian politics, including its intentions to leave the Commonwealth, the future of cryptocurrencies in Maldives doesn’t look very promising.”

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