In a move to regulate the fast-growing crypto industry, South Africa’s financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has crypto-exchanges-licensing-by-year-end-1.1941252″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>announced a year-end deadline for mandatory licensing of all crypto exchanges operating in the nation.
The impending regulatory change comes as an effort to mitigate the potential financial risks associated with crypto transactions for South African consumers. With this, South Africa, Africa’s most advanced economy, becomes the first in the continent to enforce such a licensing requirement.
The move underlines the nation’s ongoing commitment to keeping pace with the evolving digital landscape while ensuring a regulatory framework that can enhance consumer protection in the crypto space.
A Push For Licensed Operations
The FSCA began accepting license applications a few weeks ago, and according to FSCA Commissioner Unathi Kamlana, the regulator has already received roughly 20 applications. The deadline for application submission has been set for November 30.
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Any crypto firms that continue to operate unlicensed beyond this deadline may face stringent enforcement actions, including possible closures or fines.
There is potentially serious harm to financial customers when using crypto products, and therefore it makes sense for us to introduce the regulatory framework.
He also added that the effectiveness of the measures will be assessed with time, and in collaboration with the industry, modifications and refinements would be made if needed.
The regulation will affect several prominent crypto exchanges originating in South Africa, such as Luno, owned by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, and Pantera-backed VALR. Additionally, international platforms like Binance that operate in the country will need to acquire the requisite licenses.
Consumer Protection And Education
The FSCA’s mandate extends beyond mere regulation. As part of the authority’s consumer protection efforts, they are working on providing financial education and raising public awareness around cryptocurrency products.
Kamlana emphasized the importance of cautious investment, stating that “It is an area where you can lose quite a bit of money so you must think twice before exposing yourself to it.”
The FSCA continues to take an active role in shaping crypto and fintech regulations. They are part of an “intergovernmental fintech working group,” comprising the nation’s significant financial sector regulators and policymakers such as the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank. The group aims to work in concert to create a more secure and regulated digital economy.
Meanwhile, regardless of the continuous regulation of the industry, the crypto market has seen a bullish sentiment from the community and has shown a bullish trend in the past 24 hours. Over the past day, the global crypto market has surged nearly 1% with a market valuation of $1.259 trillion.
Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView