According to Bloomberg, South Africa has emerged as the first African country to enforce licensing for digital asset exchanges. The financial regulatory body of South Africa has declared that all cryptocurrency exchanges operating within the country must acquire licenses before the year’s end.
According to Bloomberg, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) commissioner, Unathi Kamlana, revealed that around 20 license applications have been received since the recent opening of applications, and more are expected before the November 30 deadline. Kamlana warned that after the deadline, the regulator plans to take “enforcement action” against crypto exchanges operating without a license, which could involve fines or the closure of noncompliant firms.
Kamlana emphasized the importance of introducing a regulatory framework for crypto products, citing the potential risk of serious harm to financial customers. He also mentioned the need for time to assess the effectiveness of these measures and assured ongoing collaboration with the industry to refine and implement necessary changes. This move positions South Africa as the first country on the continent to require digital asset exchanges to obtain licenses, aligning with the global trend of tightening crypto regulations by regulators and policymakers worldwide.
prominent South African trading platforms such as Luno, owned by Digital Currency Group, and VALR, backed by Pantera Capital. Even global exchanges like Binance operating within the country will be required to obtain licenses.
As per a spokesperson from the FSCA, individuals engaged in offering financial services related to crypto assets, with some exceptions like crypto miners and NFT service providers, must acquire authorization. Failure to adhere to this requirement is considered a legal violation, and regulatory authorities may initiate enforcement actions.
The FSCA has actively participated in crypto and fintech regulatory matters by working closely with an “inter-governmental fintech working group,” which comprises key financial sector regulators and policymakers like the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank.
The trend of strengthening regulations extends beyond South Africa. On July 3, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced a mandate for crypto service providers in the country to safeguard customer assets in a statutory trust for secure storage by the year’s end. This development highlights the global movement towards implementing stricter regulations in the cryptocurrency industry.