Digital Assets Policy

Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) Hosts Inaugural Digital Assets Policy Safari (DAPS) – Designing the blueprint for Kenya’s National Digital Assets Policy

On September 19, 2023, the Blockchain Association of Kenya (BAK) successfully convened the inaugural Digital Assets Policy Safari (DAPS) at the prestigious Chez Mahamadi in Kitisuru, Nairobi. DAPS was a landmark gathering, uniting a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, including Regulatory Authorities, Financial Institutions, Entrepreneurs, Startups, Legal and Compliance Experts, Academia, Investors, Blockchain Developers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Media representatives.

DAPS served as an unparalleled platform for dynamic and thought-provoking discussions, focusing on the legal and regulatory challenges confronting digital asset enterprises in Kenya, the Digital Assets Tax, and strategies to fortify the digital assets ecosystem. Dr. Julian Rowa, CEO & Co-Founder of Shajuls Business and Management Consulting, assumed the role of Master of Ceremonies for the day, infusing the event with a distinctive and authoritative perspective that elevated discussions to new heights of insight and engagement. Distinguished speakers illuminated pivotal topics with their profound expertise.

Allan Kakai, Director of Legal & Policy Affairs at BAK, shed light on BAK’s Policy, setting the stage for an enlightening discourse on the history of digital assets in Kenya. He highlighted the key pillars for DAPS; 

  • Thought Leadership & Opinion Shaping
  • Policy Lobbying
  • Stakeholder Collaboration
  • Education & Training

Esteemed luminaries such as Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance Director for East and West Africa; Duncan Muchangi, Principal at Unicorn Growth Capital and Robert Muoka, Chairman of the Blockchain Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Kenya, delved deep into the legal and regulatory challenges faced by digital asset companies in Kenya. “We need to create education, awareness, and trust within the ecosystem and the key adoption is to create an enabling environment. We believe that the right regulation helps foster industry and the development of the space but also of innovation”, said Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance Director, East and West Africa. Wahome Wilson, Research and Consulting Lead at Lawyers Hub, and Mukiri Mwirigi, Program Manager at the Africa Blockchain Centre, expertly moderated this enlightening session.

The participants were engaged in focused group discussions designed to strengthen the digital assets ecosystem. One group embarked on drafting a mock crypto bill, meticulously crafting an ideal table of contents for a Kenyan crypto bill. The second group devised a strategic roadmap for engaging with regulators, contemplating strategies for liaising with the Capital Markets Authority, Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority, Parliament, and other regulatory entities. The third group developed a comprehensive framework for consumer protection and education.

Evelyn Wanjiru, a Blockchain Legal Consultant; Fred Ogutu, a Tax Lawyer and Senior Associate at Bowmans; Bill Okello, Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance at Sanduk; and Allan Kakai, Director of Legal & Policy Affairs at BAK, shared insights into the proposed Digital Asset Tax outlined in the Finance Act 2023. They facilitated a platform for stakeholders to actively contribute to the ongoing policy-making process, ensuring their voices are heard and considered. The Finance Bill 2023, introduced the Digital Asset Tax as part of the bill, imposing a three percent tax effective from 1st September 2023.

Allan Kakai, Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at BAK, expressed the urgent need for the government to establish specific crypto regulations promptly—an objective that the government itself has indicated as a priority for early implementation. Kakai holds a dissenting viewpoint regarding the manner in which the government imposes digital asset taxes. He asserts that the current tax structure lacks fairness, and as a consequence, he calls upon the Kenyan Government to adopt equitable measures, fostering a level playing field within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

In an interactive Townhall Session moderated by Ali Hussein Kassim, CEO of AHK Corp, the panel delved into the policy and regulatory challenges faced by prominent lobby groups and associations in Kenya. Panelists, including Charles Owiti, Advocate at the High Court of Kenya and Patent Agent & ICT Data Expert; Alphonce Odhiambo, President of the Internet Society Kenya Chapter; Brian F. Bilahi, Secretary of the Crypto Taskforce at the Kenya Bankers Association; and Philip Kisaka, Assistant Secretary of the Data Privacy & Governance Society of Kenya (DPGSK), shared their experiences, successes, and failures in navigating policy-making over the past decade.

DAPS garnered support from esteemed partners, including EthSafari, Sheria Online, Binusu, and Chasing Mavericks, 

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