In January 2018, the Bank of Ghana issued a brief notice to banks and the general public advising against the use of “virtual or digital currencies, also known as cryptocurrencies,” mainly because such currencies and the entities that facilitate their transactions are not sanctioned by the government.
Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s financial regulator, is exploring regulating cryptocurrencies and security tokens. While digital currencies are not currently legal tender within the country, the SEC is considering licensing platforms so that they could be used to transact business.
BenBen – Blockchain Land Registry
In Ghana, determining the legal existence of land ownership titles are long-standing issues. The lack of adequate and systematic tracking, along with the absence of digital information storing prevents authorities and property owners from having clear certainty and visibility over what belongs to whom. Launched in 2015, the BenBen initiative, a digital land database that aims to leverage blockchain technology to provide fast easy access to trusted land content. BenBen provides digital register system of all land registries across Ghana, based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is able to certify land information through a combination of satellite imagery and on-the-ground verifications, working hand-in-hand with local stakeholders in the land market. It aggregates all the information such that financial institutions and the Lands Commission have real-time access to the data. Public and financial institutions have shown support for the BenBen initiative and several pilots have now been run with the Land Commission and Barclays Bank of Ghana.
Following this success, in July 2018, the Ghanaian government partnered with IBM to explore how best to leverage IBM’s blockchain capabilities in modernising key processes of land administration.