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FINTECH and Cryptoassets: A Comprehensive Guide to the New CEMAC Zone Regulation on Virtual Assets (VAs) and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)

FINTECH and Cryptoassets: A Comprehensive Guide to the New CEMAC Zone Regulation on Virtual Assets (VAs) and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)

Table of Contents

Introduction

In exciting news for cryptocurrency platforms operating within Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo, the Financial Markets regulator of CEMAC, known as “COSUMAF,” has recently unveiled a groundbreaking regulation on Financial Markets.

This comprehensive regulation includes specific provisions related to Virtual Assets (VAs) and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). Let’s delve into the key aspects of this new regulation, which promises to bring a breath of fresh air to the cryptocurrency landscape in the CEMAC Zone.

1. Recognition of Cryptocurrency Platforms as Market Intermediaries

Under the new regulation, cryptocurrency platforms, both custodial (e.g., Binance, Paxful, Yellowcard, Obiex) and non-custodial (such as timbuktu.exchange), are now officially recognized as Market Intermediaries, engaging in Financial Services.

2. Virtual Assets: Cryptoassets, Not Legal Tender

The regulation explicitly distinguishes Virtual Assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Bantu(XBN), and others, as Cryptoassets. It emphasizes that these assets are not legal tender (currency) or an alternative to traditional currencies.

3. Virtual Assets Service Provision (VASP) Defined

The regulation defines Virtual Assets Service Provision as encompassing various activities, including custody of VAs on behalf of third parties, VA exchange with legal tender or other VAs, operation of VA trading platforms, and other related services like order transmission, portfolio management, and investment advice.

4. Digital Tokens and Their Definition

The regulation defines Digital Tokens as intangible assets represented in digital form. These tokens embody one or more rights and can be issued, recorded, retained, or transferred using distributed electronic systems that enable the direct or indirect identification of the asset’s owner.

Future Implications

While awaiting the implementation instrument for this new regulation, it is anticipated that an amendment to the CEMAC Regulation on the prevention and repression of Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Proliferation will soon follow.

This amendment will align with the Updated FAFT Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers, ensuring a comprehensive and robust regulatory framework.

Conclusion

The introduction of the new CEMAC Zone regulation on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers marks a significant milestone for cryptocurrency platforms in the region. With clear guidelines and recognition of their role as Market Intermediaries, these platforms can operate within a regulated framework, providing users with increased trust and confidence. As the CEMAC Zone embraces the evolving landscape of Fintech and Cryptoassets, the future holds great promise for innovation, investor protection, and sustainable growth.

Remember, staying updated with regulatory developments and adhering to best practices will be crucial for all stakeholders operating in this dynamic industry.

For more information on the new regulation and its implications, visit our website or reach out to our team of experts.

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Epanty Mbanda

Attorney-at-law | Corporate-Commercial | Technology (FinTech+Blockchain+Cryptocurrency) | Securities | Tax| Managing Partner at 4M Legal and Tax ( Law Firm in Cameroon)

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