The central bank of Bangladesh has issued a new statement suggesting that the use of digital currency is now illegal in the country.
The Bangladesh Bank, as originally reported by the AFP, has said that the use of bitcoin and other crypto currencies is unlawful under existing anti-money laundering (AML) statutes.
The Bangladesh Bank noted in its advisory that harsh penalties could be imposed on those who use digital currencies, saying:
“Bitcoin is not a legal tender of any country. Any transaction through bitcoin or any other crypto currency is a punishable offense.”
AFP also reportedly spoke to a representative from the bank, who said that the act of using a digital currency could be punishable by as much as 12 years in prison.
Bangladesh recently enacted Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012, a revision of a 2009 law that aimed to bring the country’s AML policies up to global standards.
Notably, the bank’s decision to outlaw digital currency transactions derived from increasing reports in the local media regarding the use of bitcoin by domestic residents.
The announcement follows the formation of the Bitcoin Foundation’s official chapter in Bangladesh, the organisation’s first affiliate program in Asia. The Bitcoin Foundation Bangladesh opened to great fanfare in mid-August and counts international bitcoin evangelist Roger Ver among its advisors.
At the time, members of the group expressed optimism that formal recognition of the group would lead to greater domestic awareness of the technology.
Cryptocurrency Use is a ‘Punishable Offense’ – Bangladesh Central Bank