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South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

A regulatory working group in South Africa, which includes the country’s central bank, has released a consultation paper on crypto assets this week. According to the document, all exchanges, wallet providers, Bitcoin ATMs and payment processors will have to register with the government in 2019. 

Also Read: Bitpay Reports Processing Over $1 Billion Transactions in 2018

Consultation Paper on Crypto Assets

South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) jointly released on Wednesday their consultation paper on crypto assets. The group was formed to review the state of cryptocurrency in the country under the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) at the start of 2018.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper includes background on the subject and provides the scope of the activities that have been assessed. It highlights the benefits and risks, as defined by the regulators, reviews the approaches taken by other jurisdictions, and presents recommendations for dealing with crypto assets from a local perspective. The South African public and impacted parties have been asked to provide comments on the document by Feb. 15, 2019, and the regulators promise that the input will help determine the way in which crypto assets will be regulated.

Crypto Service Providers Will Have to Register

The group recommends that crypto assets remain without legal tender status and not recognized as electronic money, but they won’t be banned for now. It proposes a regulatory framework to be developed in phases, starting with a registration process for crypto asset service providers. This could eventually lead to formal authorization as a licensed operator in South Africa. Registration will be required for all cryptocurrency trading platforms, vending machines (Bitcoin ATMs), wallet providers, custodial services and payment service providers.

South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

The paper also recommends that crypto asset service providers be required to comply with AML/CFT regulations under South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act. This means that the companies will have to conduct ongoing monitoring of their clients, keep records of their activities and file reports on suspicious and unusual transactions, including all cash transactions of 25,000 South African rand (around $1,900) and above. Details about the registration process will be published later and it is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2019.

Is this development good for cryptocurrency users in South Africa? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Tags in this story
N-Regulation, registration, South Africa, South African, South African Reserve Bank (SARB)
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Avi Mizrahi

Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the world, from London to Hong-Kong.