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Ethiopia has New Plans for Crypto Businesses

In June this year, Ethiopia’s central bank issued a statement saying that crypto business in the country is illegal. Less than three months later, the country seems to have reversed this decision, instead requiring cryptocurrency operators to register with the national cybersecurity agency —the Information Network Security Administration— within 10 days. This move by the government to acknowledge the industry is driven by a desire to be proactive in protecting citizens from crypto-related cybercrime. While African countries acknowledge the rising threat of cyber insecurity in the continent, none has laid down measures to mitigate against cyber attacks hidden in online crypto marketplaces. Ethiopia wants to lead in this front. And though a laggard in the adoption of crypto in Africa, Ethiopia is fast catching up with dominant players such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt. With 1.8 million Bitcoin traders, Ethiopia ranks seventh in Africa in crypto holding capacity. The latest Chainalysis report indicates that losses arising from cryptocurrency scams rose by 60% in the first seven months of this year to $1.9 billion, propelled by a surge in funds stolen from decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols.