South Africa to Mandate Crypto Exchange Licensing

Key Insights

  • South Africa’s financial regulator will require crypto exchanges to obtain licenses by the end of the year.
  • The FSCA has already received approximately 20 license applications since the process opened a few weeks ago.
  • South Africa is leading the way in Africa by becoming the first country on the continent to mandate licensing for digital asset exchanges.

JOHANNESBURG (MarketsXplora) – In a significant move, South Africa’s financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has announced that crypto exchanges in the country will be required to operate with licenses by the end of the year.

With approximately 20 license applications already received since the licensing process began a few weeks ago, FSCA Commissioner Unathi Kamlana revealed in an interview that enforcement action, including potential closure or fines, will be taken against firms that continue to operate without a license beyond the November 30 deadline.

Kamlana emphasized the need for a regulatory framework, stating that the use of crypto products carries potential harm to financial customers. He expressed the FSCA’s commitment to assessing the effectiveness of the regulatory measures and working closely with the industry to refine and make necessary changes.

South Africa Taking the Lead in Crypto Regulation

South Africa, Africa’s most developed economy, is taking the lead on the continent by implementing licensing requirements for digital asset exchanges. Prominent exchanges such as Luno, owned by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, and Pantera-backed VALR, have emerged from South Africa, while global platforms like Binance also operate within the country and will need to secure licenses. Luno’s local unit manager, Christo de Wit, confirmed that the company has submitted its license application and is awaiting feedback from the FSCA.

This regulatory action aligns with a global trend of tightening rules governing the cryptocurrency sector, driven by concerns over company collapses and fraudulent activities. South Africa has unfortunately been plagued by major crypto scams that led to the disappearance of billions of dollars in investments, including the infamous Africrypt case involving the Cajee brothers and the fraudulent scheme of Mirror Trading International Proprietary.

The FSCA has been actively engaged in crypto and fintech regulations, collaborating with an intergovernmental fintech working group that includes key financial regulators and policymakers such as the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank.

Encouraging Transparency and Industry Participation

While most of South Africa’s traditional banks have refrained from providing banking services to crypto platforms due to associated risks, the central bank has urged them to reconsider, citing the benefits of enhanced transparency when operating within the formal sector. Kamlana emphasized the importance of consumer protection measures, including financial education and raising public awareness about cryptocurrency products.

South Africa’s proactive approach to crypto regulation aims to create a safer environment for investors and promote responsible practices within the burgeoning crypto industry.

What are your thoughts on South Africa’s decision to require licenses for crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments.

Samson Ononeme

Meet Samson Ononeme, a dynamic writer, editor, and CEO of With a passion for words and a sharp business acumen, Samson captivates readers with captivating storytelling and delivers insightful market analysis. He is a trailblazer in the finance industry, empowering individuals with knowledge and shaping the narrative of money. Get ready to be inspired by his literary prowess and entrepreneurial leadership.

Leave a Reply