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Tunisia Did Not Pioneer the Use of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Khadija Boufous Khadija Boufous
25th May 2022
Tunisia Did Not Pioneer the Use of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
The post on Tunisia by the Thai investor was updated (Facebook).

The Claim

Tunisia is one of the first countries to embrace the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, according to Topp Jirayut, the owner of a Thai digital currency company.

Emerging story

The owner of a Thai digital currency company, Topp Jirayut, recently posted a picture of him with Tunisian prime minister Najla Boden at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. He captioned the image that Tunisia is one of the first countries open to the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Tunisians, on the other hand, shared information asserting that Tunisia legally prohibits the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be misleading, as Tunisia was not one of the first countries to use cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, despite some attempts and indicators implemented at various times.

Cryptocurrency Prohibited in Tunisia 

Despite the absence of a law criminalizing cryptocurrency use, Tunisia prohibits its use. The laws and regulations governing the use of digital currencies are unclear.

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Photo Description: Article on the lack of clarity in rules and regulations related to digital currency.

The lack of clarity is based on outdated laws that state the barriers and penalties that can be imposed on dealers in the electronic currency that do not fit the existing legal text, particularly those relating to the possession of foreign cash and payment means.

The Case of Hossam Bouguerra

The case of Tunisian engineer Hossam Bouguerra is the most prominent example of cryptocurrency trading prohibition. Bouguerra was arrested and imprisoned in March 2021 for digital currency trading, mining, cryptocurrency, and bitcoin entrepreneurship.

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Photo Description: A screenshot of reports on the Hossam Bouguerra case.

Bouguerra was also charged with "money laundering" and "terrorism." The investigating judge granted his release due to the lack of a crime. However, the Monastir state's assistant attorney general decided to file an appeal and keep the young man in detention. He was later granted permission to be temporarily released and travel until his case was resolved.

Central Bank Denies Policy on Cryptocurrencies

In 2019, the Tunisian Central Bank rejected an agreement with a foreign company to establish a cryptocurrency financial policy. The bank emphasized that the emphasis was on digitizing finance in its electronic cash division, not cryptocurrency. The Bank's interests, according to the statement, are "studying the opportunities and risks inherent in these new technologies, particularly in terms of cyber security and financial stability."

Blockchain in Tunisia

There have been attempts in Tunisia to rely on blockchain, such as the 2015 collaboration between Tunisian Post and a Swiss startup (Monitas), which allows mail to register and approve all cash exchange operations by users of the electronic dinar system, which has been adopted in Tunisia with state support since 2000. According to the Nawaat website, the Tunisian Post was the first to adopt the move both locally and throughout the Arab world.

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Photo Description: Article reporting on the use of blockchain in Tunisia.

The world's leading technology platform, Paxful, one of the sponsors of The Blockchain Fest, held the first North African hybrid blockchain conference in Tunisia, but experts say these efforts face numerous obstacles, including legal and administrative.

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies, which first appeared in 2008, are digital currencies that can be bought, sold, and traded. It can be a volatile asset because prices fluctuate quickly and are influenced by a variety of external factors, making investment risky. Some have made significant profits, many times their investments, while others have lost all of their investments. While blockchain technology is a network of computers linked in real-time to the same renewed cash register. This record is updated in newly manufactured currencies based on the calculations of digital money, the purchaser, the buyer, and price based on supply and demand.

Topp Jirayut Amended his Post

Jirayut later changed his Facebook post after receiving feedback from Tunisians, removing the part about Tunisia being one of the first countries to open up to cryptocurrency and blockchain, as seen below.

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Photo Description: Topp Jirayut amended post.

The Misbar team confirms that the claim is misleading and that Tunisia is not a pioneer in the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain, based on the findings of the investigation.

Additional Reporting by Misbar's Arabic Team

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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