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FSCA Grants Licenses, Establishing South Africa as Crypto Pioneer

TL ; DR

  • FSCA licenses 50 crypto service providers, making South Africa Africa’s pioneer in crypto regulation.
  • FSCA’s licensing not only regulates but safeguards consumers, emphasizing scrutiny of licenses.
  • Despite regulations, crypto scams evolve, shifting to social media with unrealistic profit promises.

South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is gearing up to grant licenses to approximately 50 crypto asset service providers (CASPs) in the upcoming weeks. This development positions South Africa as the first country on the African continent to mandate licenses for digital asset exchanges, signifying a significant step towards embracing blockchain technology.

“The requirement for licensing is a move in the right direction as it validates the operations of crypto companies,” said Christo De Wit, Luno Country Manager for South Africa.

Application Process Overview

Initially, 145 companies applied for the CASP license, with 20 opting to withdraw their applications. The Head of Enforcement at the FSCA, Gerhard Van Deventer, attributed the withdrawals to the substantial costs of obtaining the license and a shortage of industry experts. The remaining 50 applications are currently under review by the licensing committee, a crucial step in the authorization process.

This move comes after the FSCA, in June 2023, set a six-month window for cryptocurrency companies operating in South Africa to apply for a license. Van Deventer emphasized that companies awaiting approval were permitted to continue their operations during this period, providing a bridge between application submission and regulatory decision-making.

Consumer Protection and Regulatory Framework

The licensing regime serves not only as a regulatory framework but also as a protective measure for consumers. With the imminent licenses, consumers are advised to engage exclusively with licensed crypto firms, deeming the absence of a license as a significant ‘red flag.’ Van Deventer underscored the importance of scrutinizing the specific licenses held by crypto firms, urging consumers to conduct thorough investigations when perusing a company’s website.

Enforcement Actions for Non-Compliance

To ensure adherence to regulatory standards, the FSCA imposed a deadline of November 30, 2023, for license applications. Companies failing to submit their applications by this date were deemed non-compliant, with the regulator ready to take enforcement actions. These actions include imposing fines and, in severe cases, shutting down non-compliant firms. This stringent approach underscores the FSCA’s commitment to maintaining a secure and compliant crypto landscape in the country.

Challenges and Continuing Scam Trends

While the licensing regime bolsters the regulator’s control over crypto scams, which have increased in South Africa, Van Deventer cautioned that scams might persist. Notably, the FSCA has observed a shift in scam activities towards social media platforms. Van Deventer emphasized that a classic giveaway for crypto scams remains the promise of unrealistic returns. Alarmingly, recent trends indicate scams no longer focus on monthly or weekly returns but instead promise astronomical profits within a matter of hours.

Looking Forward

As South Africa advances in regulating its crypto landscape, the imminent licensing of 50 CASPs marks a pivotal moment in the country’s embrace of blockchain technology. The FSCA’s proactive measures position South Africa as a leader in fostering a secure and compliant environment for cryptocurrency transactions. As the global crypto community watches these developments unfold, South Africa’s journey toward crypto regulation sets a noteworthy example for Africa and beyond.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Timothy Munene

Timothy is a competent journalist with a background in Blockchain, Web3, and crypto news writing. He is focused, produces engaging content and has a wide range of research and analysing skills.

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