Myanmar’s Central Bank claims crypto traders can be fined or jailed, but there are doubts whether the law supports this.
The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced that it does not recognize cryptocurrency as an official currency and anyone caught trading digital assets could be jailed or fined.
But local crypto enthusiasts dispute whether the statement has any legal force.
Reported by the Myanmar Times, the country’s central bank issued an announcement on May 15 stating that financial institutions are not allowed to accept or facilitate transactions using digital currencies.
The bank references cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Perfect Money (PM) which are traded from personal Facebook profiles in accordance with regulations imposed by CBM.
Although the announcement did not mention specific consequences, the bank said trading the assets could result in years in prison or large fines.
There is no power to enforce
However, those involved in crypto trading locally do not seem deterred by the announcement. U Nyein Chan Soe Win, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Get Myanmar platform, said:
CBM does not prohibit the use of cryptocurrencies by law. Just made an announcement. Since there is no official law, it cannot be said that digital currency trading is illegal.
This is not the first time Myanmar’s central bank has attempted to block crypto trading in the country. Last year the CMB urged consumers to stop trading cryptocurrencies amid concerns that inexperienced users could lose money.
While the bank is trying to send a message that cryptocurrencies are illegal in Myanmar, there doesn’t appear to be any mechanism or legal framework in place to regulate or block their use.