South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is bringing more regulation to crypto firms operating in the country and intends to sue firms that are intentionally non-compliant.
In an interview with Bloomberg, FSCA Commissioner Unathi Kamlana said that the regulator had received 20 applications for licenses from crypto firms since introducing the requirement a few weeks ago.
Kamlana said that the FSCA would not hold back on enforcement actions, and would fine or shut down crypto firms that continue to operate past the deadline of Nov. 30.
“There is potentially serious harm to financial customers when using crypto products, and therefore it makes sense for us to introduce the regulatory framework,” said Kamlana.
The rising number of crypto-related scams around the world, coupled with the fallout from the bankruptcies of several leading exchanges and companies, has seen regulators clamp down on the industry and impose more stringent requirements for digital asset firms. South Africa is no stranger to these fraudulent schemes, known for two major scams – Africrypt and Mirror Trading – that took place just 18 months apart.
Africrypt was a crypto platform run by two brothers, Ameer and Raees Cajee, who disappeared in 2021 after telling investors that the platform had been hacked. Around $3.9 billion worth of investors’ money went missing at the time.
Mirror Trading International, is known for defrauding investors of $589 million worth of crypto in August 2020. The firm’s CEO Johann Steynberg fled the country with investor funds but was arrested in Brazil and ordered to pay a $3.4 billion fine by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).