An alarming article appeared in The Telegraph news publication on Monday which indicates that persons in Bangladesh caught using bitcoin could very face prison time.
Actions such as buying, selling, or trading bitcoin could violate Bangladesh’s strict anti-money laundering laws, and country’s central bank (The Bangladesh Bank) says they have issued a warning against getting involved with bitcoin following local news reports of bitcoin transactions being used on a number of online platforms.
“Bitcoin is not a legal tender of any country. Any transaction through Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency is a punishable offence,” the central bank wrote in a statement.
Officials from the bank reportedly told Agence France-Presse that those caught in violation of the order could face up to 12 years in prison — a significant amount of time for an action that’s harmless and not punishable in most of the world.
And while the threat of imprisonment may be enough to discourage some, others aren’t concerned with what the central bank has to say (namely due to lax law enforcement in the country).
“As a Bangladeshi, this is stupid but expected from the government. It’s also not going to be enforced,” wrote one user on social sharing website Reddit.com. “The country is so poor and corrupt, anything goes. I believe VOIP is still considered illegal to try and help the national telephone subsidy, but everyone still uses Skype/Facetime/etc.”
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Bangladesh affiliate has yet to issue a statement on this news, though we’ve reached out to them with a request for comment.