This week, the Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group made up of Australia, Barbados, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore and Tonga, together with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, concluded a three-day conference in London with a consensus: “Member states should consider the applicability of their existing legal frameworks to virtual currencies and where appropriate they should consider adapting them or enacting new legislation to regulate virtual currencies.”
The group has come up with the consensus because it recognizes the benefits and the disruptive nature of bitcoin and other digital currencies in the financial sector. The conference was joined by experts from the banking sector, academia, virtual currency operators, users and law enforcement agencies, to discuss the unique applications and the risks of criminal misuse.
One of the main members of the Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group, Aminiasi Kefu, Tonga’s acting attorney general explained:
“From Tonga’s perspective, virtual currencies are a phenomena that has already arrived. Today, real estate, buildings and businesses held or owned by individuals resident in Tonga are being advertised for sale on the Internet for virtual currency, namely bitcoin.”
The Working Group received presentations from nine groups involved with virtual currencies, including the U.K. Digital Currency Association, BitPesa, Bitt, Bankymoon, Ripple Labs and Minku.
Many experts and representatives explained to other member states that the decentralized nature of virtual currencies, specifically bitcoin, has been the solution to economic inequality and remittances worldwide.
Bankymoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff explained the importance of virtual currencies in severely underbanked regions such as Africa.
“In Africa, around 80 percent of the population doesn’t have access to banks and are mainly engaged in a cash economy,” said Gamaroff.