You are currently viewing Morocco’s path to regulating cryptocurrencies: a delicate balancing act

In a groundbreaking announcement, Abdellatif Jouahri, the Governor of Bank Al Maghrib (the central bank of Morocco), revealed plans for drafting a comprehensive law to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country. This move marks a significant shift in Morocco’s approach, as it previously banned cryptocurrencies outright in 2017 and reiterated the ban in 2021. The nation’s stance on Bitcoin (BTC), cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology has been ambiguous, reflecting a cautious “wait and see” approach driven by concerns over economic sovereignty, capital flight, and the potential disruption of traditional banking systems. While Morocco is exploring the development of its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and observing global regulatory frameworks, the use of cryptocurrencies remains frowned upon and faces legal consequences. Despite this, the country has seen a surge in cryptocurrency adoption as citizens find ways to navigate conservative monetary policies and leverage the investment potential of digital assets.

A Historical Perspective on Bitcoin

Emerging amidst the 2008 global financial crisis, Bitcoin gained prominence as an anonymous digital currency introduced in a white paper by the pseudonymous figure Satoshi Nakamoto. Initially associated with criminal activities on platforms like The Silk Road, Bitcoin’s attributes—decentralization, immutability, and censorship resistance—garnered attention and positioned it as a potential competitor to traditional fiat currencies. Its scarcity, portability, and ability to function as a store of value, unit of account, and medium of exchange have led some to describe it as “digital gold.” Deutsche Bank even joined the chorus, recognizing Bitcoin’s significance in the financial landscape.

Morocco’s Evolving Position

Morocco’s acknowledgement of Bitcoin in 2017 was accompanied by warnings about its unregulated nature and associated risks. The absence of a legal framework posed challenges in terms of consumer protection, loss of funds, and money laundering concerns. As Bitcoin’s popularity grew, a second press release reiterated these concerns but failed to address the need for regulation. Morocco’s cautious approach stemmed from its desire to observe international developments and learn from the experiences of other countries in dealing with cryptocurrencies. While the government formed committees to study the feasibility of a Moroccan CBDC and the implications of Bitcoin adoption, progress has been limited.

Policy and Legal Implications

Moroccan policymakers, including Governor Jouahri, have highlighted Bitcoin’s speculative nature while stressing the importance of international regulatory frameworks in shaping Morocco’s approach. The Ministry of Finance, Bank Al Maghrib, and international consulting companies collaborate to determine an appropriate legal and regulatory framework. Meanwhile, judges have been grappling with real-life cases involving cryptocurrency theft and misuse, interpreting existing laws to address such crimes. However, the absence of comprehensive regulations has left Moroccan cryptocurrency users in a state of uncertainty.

Morocco’s Regulatory Roadmap

Morocco’s regulatory stance is characterized by caution and a preference for international guidance. The country’s central bank participated in a meeting in El Salvador, where Bitcoin was adopted as legal tender, signalling an acknowledgement of the need to study the implications of such a move. While these steps demonstrate progress, Morocco’s banking sector’s interest in blockchain technology is yet to translate into concrete actions. Reports of banks joining blockchain networks or exploring cryptocurrency mining opportunities remain unverified. Nonetheless, experts anticipate that Morocco’s regulation of cryptocurrencies is imminent, albeit with potential restrictions. This might involve reintroducing intermediaries, such as banks or centralized exchanges, and implementing authorization requirements for investments.


Bitcoin and blockchain technology have the potential to offer numerous benefits to Morocco, including more affordable remittance options, improved government services, and enhanced transparency in sectors such as procurement. Furthermore, Morocco’s renewable energy resources could be harnessed for sustainable Bitcoin mining, contributing to the country’s energy mix and economic growth. However, Morocco’s banking sector’s cautious approach may hinder the country’s ability to fully leverage the opportunities presented by cryptocurrencies. Striking a delicate balance between innovation and regulation is crucial for Morocco to navigate the evolving cryptocurrency landscape successfully. As the nation continues to rank highly in transaction volumes, the urgency to establish a regulatory framework that fosters innovation while safeguarding against risks becomes increasingly apparent. By embracing the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Morocco can position itself as a regional leader in the digital economy.


Auteur: Dounia Nawrocka, Master II Commerce Electronique Unistra/Edge, Casablanca, Maroc

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