Southern Africa

South Africa Issues First Operating License to 39 Crypto Firms

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has granted operating licenses to 59 cryptocurrency firms as of March 12, 2024.

This announcement was made during the ongoing FSCA Industry Conference in Johannesburg.

FSCA received 355 applications for crypto licenses, out of which 59 were approved, while 262 are still under review.

The approved firms represent a range of business models, including advisory services, exchanges, and payment gateways.

Others are crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat conversion, crypto asset arbitrage, tokenization, provision of index-based products, and wallet services.

Felicity Mabaso said South Africa won’t allow cryptos to operate in the region without a license.

“Any entity that did not apply for a license and continues activities will be investigated and there will be consequences for such actions,” said Mabaso.

Also Read: Over 6 million Kenyans are cryptocurrency holders – report

Maboso is the divisional executive for licensing at the FSCA.

South Africa has been progressively easing its crypto regulatory landscape.

The journey began in November 2018, when the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) established the Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group.

The group was formed in liaison with South African Revenue Services (SARS), and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

In July 2021, the working group published a paper recommending a revision of the country’s policy, legal, and regulatory stance on crypto assets.

In August 2022, the SARB issued guidelines for financial institutions, including banks, on serving crypto clients.

The apex bank explicitly discouraged institutions from refusing to provide services to crypto clients.

In October 2022, the FSCA officially classified crypto assets as financial products, bringing them under its regulatory purview.

This paved the way for the opening of license applications in June 2023.

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Lawrence Baraza

Lawrence Baraza is a dynamic journalist currently overseeing content at Metropol TV Digital. With a keen focus on business news and analytics, Lawrence guides the platform in delivering insightful, data-driven content that empowers its audience to make informed decisions. Lawrence’s commitment to quality and his ability to anticipate market trends make him a key figure in the digital media landscape. His work continues to shape the way business news is consumed, making a significant impact in the field.

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