Binance and Yellow Card missing from South Africa's licensed crypto firms’ list

South Africa released a list of 75 licensed crypto asset service providers, but major players like Binance and Yellow Card are missing.

Binance and Yellow Card missing from South Africa's licensed crypto firms’ list

After two years of laying the groundwork, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has licensed 75 crypto asset service providers (CASPs) from over 374 applicants. The list, released Monday, features well-established global exchanges like Luno and VALR.

However, two major players, Binance and Yellow Card are absent from the list. The FSCA has assured that applications are still under consideration. “[We] will continue to provide regular updates as these applications are processed and approved,” FSCA said in a statement seen by 

The FSCA's licensing process goes beyond simply legitimising crypto businesses. It has a two-fold objective: protecting South African investors from the inherent risks of the volatile crypto market and preventing illegal activities like money laundering and terrorist financing through increased oversight. 

However, the FSCA emphasizes that receiving a license doesn't equate to endorsing cryptocurrencies as legal tender. 

The licensed firms themselves offer a wide range of services, including providing advice, operating exchanges, facilitating crypto payments, converting between crypto and traditional currencies, capitalising on price discrepancies, tokenising assets, creating crypto-based index products, and managing digital wallets for clients.

Felicity Mabaso, FSCA divisional head of licensing, warns: "Any entity that did not apply for a license and continues activities will be investigated and there will be consequences for such actions."

A spokesperson for Yellow Card, Rutendo Nyamuda, informed that the company applied to the FSCA for authorisation in November 2023. "Our application is in progress and we expect authorisation to follow shortly," Nyamuda said. "In the interim, we continue to conduct our business lawfully as an incumbent CASP, and in compliance with the FSCA’s FAIS exemption regime."

Meanwhile, the status of crypto giant Binance in South Africa remains uncertain, but the FSCA hasn't confirmed any rejection. 

This ambiguity coincides with Binance's recent woes in Nigeria, another major African crypto hub. There, the platform faces regulatory hurdles and has halted operations. Adding fuel to the fire, a Binance executive is under arrest, while another is undergoing extradition from Kenya after escaping Nigerian custody.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has accused the crypto exchange of processing over $26 billion in unidentified transactions. Additionally, the country’s Securities Exchange Commissions declared Binance illegal. 

CEO Richard Teng recently disclosed that the company is working “very closely” with the Nigerian government to resolve the issues. 

This is a developing story. 

We will update it with FSCA, Binance and/or Yellow Card comments.

  • The story has been updated with comments from Yellow Card. (April 24, 2024).

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