Bangladesh Bank recently said owning cryptocurrencies or carrying out virtual transactions and trade through them for non-criminal purposes is not an offence
Contradicting Bangladesh Bank's earlier comment, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police on Wednesday asserted that transactions using cryptocurrency are still illegal.
Kamrul Ahsan, additional deputy inspector general of CID, confirmed their position to Dhaka Tribune on the day.
He elaborated that Bangladesh Bank did not declare cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as illegal per se, but merely gave an observation.
The Foreign Monetary Policy Division of the central bank wrote to the CID earlier stating that cryptocurrency transactions or trade should be deemed as crimes only if they involve money laundering or terror financing.
“However, owning cryptocurrencies or carrying out virtual transactions and trade through them for non-criminal purposes is not an offence,” the central bank asserted.
If one conducts bitcoin trading, it is done through non-verified channels, which makes the whole process illegal, Ahsan stated.
Most people use cryptocurrencies but not from their genuine accounts, he also said.
The CID official also said that cryptocurrency trading and transactions violate several laws, such as the second phase of the Foreign Exchange Control Act 1947, Anti-Terrorism Act 2009, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2012.
The senior CID official stressed that there are visible loopholes regarding cryptocurrency transactions, as it may violate anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune about the matter, Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), said: “Cryptocurrency is the future. When we want to move towards a cashless society, we cannot be in denial. We have to start preparing to adapt to the implementation of such technology that has the potential to develop several industries.”
He also said skilled human resources need to be developed for reaping the benefits of blockchain technology, as well as a local evaluation of the currency against the Taka.
Previously, the central bank issued a warning in December 2016 on their website asking people to refrain from trading in artificial currencies.
“Transactions in virtual currency may violate anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws," said the statement.
However, highlighting the importance of the technology, the Bangladesh Bank has taken this new stance stating the value of the current virtual currency market in the world which stands at two trillion US dollars.
But Bangladesh has yet to formulate any policy to regulate the industry.