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BAK postpones tabling of bill seeking to tame crypto fraud

Monday, February 19th, 2024 20:08 | By
BAK postpones tabling of bill seeking to tame crypto fraud
Gold Coins on the Laptop. PHOTO/Pexels

The Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) has deferred plans to table a draft bill seeking to arrest rising cases of cryptocurrency fraud in the country.

In a statement on Monday, February 19, the digital asset industry lobby group attributed the decision to postpone the submission of the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) bill to the National Assembly to the need to create room for more engagement with other stakeholders and interested parties.

From left to right directors of Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) Allan Kakai, Paul Gachora and Michael Kimani. PHOTO/BAK

BAK was tasked by the Finance and National Planning Committee with drafting a framework to govern the cryptocurrency industry due to the lack of such regulations, which has led to the mushrooming of dubious cryptocurrency scams defrauding Kenyans of their hard-earned money.

The bill was set to be handed over to the committee on February 14, 2023.

However, BAK stated that the growing interest from new stakeholders, such as government agencies and others affected by elements of the bill, led the association to extend the feedback period.

"The association held a stakeholder breakfast at the Sankara hotel on [February] 16th where the Executive Board announced that it will extend the feedback period to a later date in future," BAK stated.

The lobby group is now urging stakeholders to review and give input on the bill before its submission to the August House.

"The Blockchain Association of Kenya 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," BAK stated.

Speaking at the breakfast meeting, the Chairman of the Board Michael Kimani said, “The Virtual Asset Service Provider bill is a significant milestone towards curbing the rampant cryptocurrency-related scams that thrive and continue to defraud Kenyans of millions of shillings because of the lack of frameworks to protect the public.”

Cases of Kenyans losing their hard-earned cash to unscrupulous crypto operators have been on the rise in recent years.

Last week, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) stated that detectives were investigating numerous cases of Kenyans being lured into joining online cryptocurrency investment platforms, only to end up losing their investments to fraudsters.

The agency called on Kenyans to exercise caution while dealing with suspicious investment schemes.

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