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Retail giant Pick n Pay to accept Bitcoin in 1,628 stores across South Africa

Grocery retailer Pick n Pay is expanding its Bitcoin coverage to all stores in the country following a three-month pilot testing phase.

The South African grocery retailer Pick n Pay is expanding its Bitcoin (BTC) coverage to all 1,628 stores across the country following a three-month pilot testing phase in 39 locations. 

As part of its nationwide rollout, store customers will be able to pay for items using cryptocurrency via smartphone apps or by scanning a QR code and accepting the South African rand's conversion rate at the time of payment.

To pay with BTC, customers will need a Bitcoin Lightning Wallet and the CryptoQR scanner app from CryptoConvert, which is linked to the Bitcoin Lightning Wallet. The payment process requires users to scan an item's QR code through the CryptoQR app and then proceed to the Lightning Wallet to confirm the rate and complete the transaction.

Related: South African crypto landscape primed for TradFi growth after FSCA ruling

Twitter users shared their experience with using Bitcoin to pay for everyday items at Pick n Pay stores:

The move came after the country's financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), amended its financial advisory legislation in October 2022 to classify crypto assets as financial products, bringing cryptocurrencies under regulation for the first time in South Africa, and allowing financial service providers to offer crypto-assets both domestically and internationally.

The retail chain disclosed plans to roll out crypto payments nationwide in November 2022, after years piloting the service in selected stores. A first experiment with cryptocurrencies took place in 2017, when the company began accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in Cape Town, but transaction costs and wait times hindered the process.

During its pilot program, Pick n Pay partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert to enable customers to pay via the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a second layer added to Bitcoin’s blockchain that allows off-chain transactions

Among the African nations, South Africa appears to be making considerable progress in adopting cryptocurrency. South Africa ranks 30th globally in terms of cryptocurrency adoption according to Chainalysis' 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index. It has been estimated that about 10% to 13% of the South African population holds crypto assets.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

South Africa adds new cryptocurrency standards to advertising code

Cryptocurrency products and services feature in a new clause in South Africa’s code of advertising practice introduced by the Advertising Regulatory Board.

South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has included a new clause for the cryptocurrency industry aimed at protecting consumers from unethical advertising.

Companies and individuals in South Africa must abide by certain advertising standards pertaining to the provision of cryptocurrency products and services in a new clause introduced to Section III of the country’s advertising code.

The first clause requires that adverts, including cryptocurrency offerings, must ‘expressly and clearly’ state that investments may result in the loss of capital ‘as the value is variable and can go up as well as down.’ Furthermore, adverts must not contradict warnings about potential investment losses.

Advertising for particular services and products must be explained in an ‘easily understandable’ manner for intended audiences. Adverts must also give balanced messages around returns, features, benefits and risks associated with the associated product or service.

Rates of returns, projections or forecasts must also be adequately substantiated, including how these are calculated and what conditions apply to touted returns. Any information relating to past performance cannot be used to promise future performance or returns, and should not be presented in a way that creates ‘a favourable impression of the advertised product or service.’

Adverts from cryptocurrency service providers that are not registered credit providers should not encourage the acquisition of cryptocurrencies using credit. However this does not preclude the advertising of associated payment methods provided by service providers.

Social media influencers and brand ambassadors will also be expected to comply with certain advertising standards. This includes being required to share factual information while being prohibited from offering advice on trading or investing in crypto assets and the prohibition of promises of benefits or returns.

Cryptocurrency exchange Luno, a prominent service provider in South Africa, spearheaded the project with the ARB. Luno’s GM for Africa Marius Reitz told Cointelegraph the exchange approached the regulatory body to develop new rules alongside major players in the local crypto industry.

Related: Central African Republic eyes legal framework for crypto adoption

Reitz said that the industry is looking to take a self-regulatory approach and that consumers should be cognisant of risks involved in cryptocurrency investing. Scams and frauds have preyed on unsuspecting investors in the country, necessitating an effort to ‘clean up the industry’ by making it more difficult for scammers to operate:

“Media platforms are understandably looking for advertisers, but we were concerned that they weren’t doing sufficient due diligence on whether advertisers were above board.”

A statement shared with Cointelegraph from ARB CEO Gail Schimmel highlighted her belief that the project would result in better protections for ‘vulnerable consumers’ in South Africa:

“This is a wonderful example of an industry that sees the harm that could be done in its name, and steps up to self-regulate the issues without being forced to do so by government.”

Cryptocurrency investors globally have fallen prey to some major scams in recent years. In South Africa, Mirror Trading International grabbed headlines through 2020 and 2021 as its CEO Johan Steynberg fled the country with sole control of wallets containing around 23,000 Bitcoin (BTC) belonging to thousands of investors.

Africrypt was another South African investment scheme that turned sour on investors in 2021, with brothers Raees and Ameer Cajee claiming that a hacking incident had led to the loss of some $200 million worth of cryptocurrencies being managed by the fund.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Saudi Arabia Open to Trading in Currencies Other Than US Dollar, Signaling a Shift Toward De-Dollarization

Saudi Arabia Open to Trading in Currencies Other Than US Dollar, Signaling a Shift Toward De-DollarizationAfter a 48-year relationship solely with the U.S. dollar, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, said the kingdom is open to trading in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The statements follow China’s president, Xi Jinping, urging the Gulf monarchs to accept yuan for oil, and Riyadh officials saying last March the country would consider […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

DeFi, DAOs and NFTs: Crypto is redefining how charities raise funds

Crypto donations are so much more than just peer-to-peer Bitcoin and Ether transactions.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), and decentralized finance (DeFi) are redefining how charities raise donations and distribute funds to those most in need. 

Through ever-evolving crypto and blockchain-related technology, crypto philanthropists told Cointelegraph that they've witnessed “new wealth distribution mechanisms" never seen before. 

“Philanthropy has traditionally been seen as a high-cost-of-entry, individualistic activity but with web3, collective decision-making bodies like DAOs can use tools that streamline financial coordination and encourage more participation,” explained Omar Antila, Product Lead at Crypto for Charity.

“Crypto enables new innovative fundraising strategies, like charitable NFT-drop campaigns, or allowing people to pool their crypto funds in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols that earn interest for a specific cause,” he added.

In October, a number of breast cancer-focused organizations started implementing NFTs to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Antila noted that he has seen many other philanthropic communities built around non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have raised support for many other causes in need, such as testicular cancer, human trafficking, and the war in Ukraine.

Last year, UkraineDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization crowdfunded $6.1 million for a 1/1 Ukrainian flag nonfungible token (NFT). Proceeds were aimed at nonprofit organizations in Ukraine helping those affected by the Russian invasion.

Blockchain technology is primed to expand on what is currently possible in the non-profit sector. Source: Moralis.io.

Meanwhile, Anne Connelly, the co-author of “Bitcoin and the Future of Fundraising” believes the crypto charity sector will soon expand from Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as the main cryptocurrencies for donations:

“Over time, however, we'll see organizations accepting a much larger spread of tokens — similar to how they would accept gifts of securities. We'll also see gifts of NFTs and other tokenized assets like real estate or collectibles.”

“I believe that once [...] more organizations realize the philanthropic potential of this donor segment, every organization will have a crypto donation platform, the same way every organization accepts credit cards,” she added.

Antila said the wide-reaching nature of crypto means that the total addressable market for crypto charity is huge too.

Antila believes the “2 billion or so unbanked adults that exist in the world today” will soon have the tools “to participate in the global economy, transact, and create wealth without third parties getting in the way or taking a cut.”

Related: Charities risk losing a generation of donors if they don’t accept crypto

More and more people and small businesses in underdeveloped countries are taking on Bitcoin and crypto for payments. Source: Cointelegraph.

This could be especially true for countries suffering from lack of trust in their state’s monetary system, where crypto adoption rates are also highest.

Connelly said adoption rates are highest in undeveloped nations — most notably Nigeria, Argentina, Vietnam and South Africa — because they simply cannot trust their state’s monetary system:

“Over half the world's population lives under double, triple, or quadruple inflation rates. For most people, they can't trust their governments to effectively manage the monetary system.

“Having the choice to use crypto is an important option for citizens, but also shows governments that if they want people to use their fiat currency, they will need to clean up their act,” she added.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Crypto regulation world: How laws for digital assets changed in 2022

While regulations were once seen as hurdles to crypto adoption, they are now perceived as the fastest way to attain global mainstream adoption.

Effective regulations are one of the key gateways to cryptocurrency’s mainstream adoption. Due to greater compliance, crypto businesses saw broader acceptance from regulators worldwide. While the crypto ecosystem was awarded countless operational licenses and exposure to new markets, the fall of Terraform Labs, FTX and Celsius, among others, had a negative impact on the industry's reputation with investors and regulators alike.

As we look back on 2022 and all it brought for the cryptocurrency industry, we're highlighting how the regulatory landscape has changed for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry as a whole.

North America

China’s blanket ban on crypto mining and trading from late 2021 positioned the United States as the torchbearer for crypto disruption by default. The U.S. is not only home to the biggest crypto ATM network, but is also is the highest contributor to the Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate.

Out of all crypto sub-ecosystems, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) took center stage in U.S. politics. What can be considered as a clear win for crypto, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) permitted the use of NFTs for political campaign fundraising incentives.

For many regulators, the collapse of FTX and the arrest of former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried were perceived as a representation of the wrongdoings of the entire crypto community. As a result, it helped recement anti-crypto sentiment among many U.S. politicians, such as Representative Brad Sherman. However, Representative Tom Emmer sided with the crypto community as he pointed out the community’s contribution to tracking Bankman-Fried’s illegal activities.

Rep. Brad Sherman during the FTX hearing in front of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. Source: YouTube

Citing the FTX collapse, the Canadian Securities Administrators — an umbrella group of securities regulators across Canada — banned crypto leverage and margin trading to protect investors. In addition, Canadian energy provider Hydro-Québec rolled out plans to reallocate energy supplied to crypto mining firms, citing the high energy demands anticipated during the harsh Canadian winter.

Similarly, U.S. regulators introduced the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to report on the energy use and environmental impact of crypto miners.

Central and South America

Farther south, El Salvador still retains its position as the most significant contributor to mainstreaming Bitcoin worldwide. While many pointed out the unrealized losses owing to falling Bitcoin prices faced by the country, President Nayib Bukele announced a new BTC investment strategy in which the country would purchase 1 BTC per day starting from Nov. 17, 2022.

Furthermore, in November, Economy Minister Maria Luisa Hayem Brevé introduced a bill confirming the government’s plan to raise $1 billion and invest it into the construction of a “Bitcoin city.”

Despite a slow start, Brazil saw the introduction of a pro-crypto regulation. Late last year, before former President Jair Bolsonaro left office, a bill that sought to legalize the use of crypto as a payment method within Brazil was signed into law. Brazil most recently issued a Payment Institution License to Crypto.com, allowing the crypto exchange to continue offering regulated fiat wallet services to Brazilians.


After careful consideration, numerous Asian regulators softened their anti-crypto stance and chose to allow crypto businesses to run operations. While China loosened its grip on its crypto permaban, India has implemented a new tax regime for crypto.

In the case of China, the Shanghai High People’s Court issued a ruling stating that Bitcoin is subject to property rights laws and regulations. With the court recognizing value, scarcity and disposability in the asset, Bitcoin owners received the right to compensation in a case involving an unpaid loan.

Click “Collect” below the illustration at the top of the page or follow this link.

India imposed two new crypto tax policies at the start of the year — one imposing a 30% tax on crypto profits and the other imposing a 1% tax deduction at source on every crypto transaction. The laws had a negative impact on local trading volumes as investors continued to hold their assets in hopes of better regulations. India, during its G20 presidency, which will last until Nov. 30, 2023, has plans to pursue the development of standard operating procedures for cryptocurrencies.

Pakistan’s central bank, on the other hand, signed new laws to expedite the launch of an in-house central bank digital currency (CBDC) amid hyper inflation concerns.

Just like in the United States, the fall of Terraform Labs left a bad taste in South Korean regulators’ mouths. For the island nation, the majority of 2022 was spent tracking down the bad actors responsible for investor losses. Moreover, the country’s 2021 implementation of Know Your Customer requirements saw a drastic reduction in hacking activities throughout 2022.

Europe and the Middle East

The Russia-Ukraine war indirectly showcased cryptocurrency’s prowess in serving the unbanked. As millions lost access to their life savings, cryptocurrencies came into the forefront as a savior.

Displaced citizens got help through crypto donations, while Russians fleeing the country used it to circumvent their home country's newly introduced currency controls. Just two weeks into the war, crowd funding helped raise over $108 million for Ukrainian war relief. Another organization raised $54 million worth of crypto funds to procure vests, scopes and unmanned aerial vehicles for Ukrainian fighters.

The European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives approved the Markets in Crypto-Assets framework, which aims to create a consistent regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies among European Union member states.

The International Monetary Fund, a major financial agency of the United Nations, called for increased regulation of Africa’s crypto markets. The Central African Republic reportedly passed a bill to legalize the use of cryptocurrencies in financial markets.

The United Kingdom sought regulatory amendments to place the crypto industry under tighter scrutiny. Reacting to the FTX collapse, the U.K.’s HM Treasury issued guidelines for the Financial Conduct Authority to monitor the operations and advertising of crypto companies in the country. This further influenced an upcoming 2023 legislation to restrict crypto services from abroad from operating in the U.K.

South Africa's financial regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, updated the country’s 2002 Financial Advisory and Financial Intermediary Services Act to declare crypto as a financial product subject to financial services law.

Nigeria banned ATM cash withdrawals over $225 (100,000 nairas) per week to enforce the use of its CBDC, the eNaira. African crypto exchange Yellow Card received regulatory approval to expand its services across the African continent.

While the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority issued numerous operational approvals to crypto business in 2022, it had to revoke the Minimum Viable Product license from FTX MENA.

Most recently, Australia overtook El Salvador to become fourth largest crypto ATM hub after the United States, Canada and Spain. Australian financial regulators are carrying forward their efforts from 2022 to create a regulatory framework for stablecoins.

Africa and Oceania

While the above-mentioned triumphs highlight just the cream of regulatory accomplishments, the crypto ecosystem made significant strides throughout the year. With the understanding that regulations are key drivers for mass adoption, crypto firms with robust compliance initiatives are setting the stage for mainstream adoption as we step into 2023.

Check out Cointelegraph’s crypto roundup of 2022 and what it means for the community in 2023.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

How to build a Bitcoin Beach: Advice from the pros

Founders of Bitcoin Beach El Salavdor, Bitcoin Ekasi in South africa, Dakar Bitcoin Days in Senegal and Global Bitcoin Fest shed light on building Bitcoin communities around the world.

How does one build a Bitcoin (BTC) community? How to start? Where to begin? And what are the best practices? 

Cointelegraph spoke to Bitcoin community builders around the world to shed light on a growing phenomenon in the Bitcoin world.

From Indonesia to South Africa to El Salvador and the Congo, circular-based Bitcoin economies and community projects have sprung up across the globe. Cointelegraph asked the successful community-focused Bitcoiners how to kickstart a Bitcoin circular economy and what advice they’d lend to enthusiasts looking to replicate the success of projects like Bitcoin Beach, El Zonte.

Using Bitcoin at Bitcoin Beach. Source: Twitter

For Bitcoin community project leader Mike Peterson, it starts with Lightning. Peterson pioneered the Bitcoin Beach project in the sleepy surf town of El Zonte, El Salvador. The circular economy energized an entire nation and eventually led to El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. Peterson told Cointelegraph:

“You need to be using lightning for for people to be transacting and to build a circular economy. It really needs to be built on lightning. [..] You need to get people transacting.”

The layer-2 Lightning Network is a payments solution built on top of Bitcoin. In El Salvador, El Chivo is among the most popular Lightning-enabled Bitcoin wallets, although it has experienced issues since its rollout. Across the rest of the world, Bitcoin enthusiasts use Wallet of Satoshi, Muun Wallet, CoinCorner or Blue Wallet to instantly transact with one another. Peterson continued: 

“If you get them making that first transaction and they see how easy it is and that they’ve actually sent value from one person to another in like a second time for hardly almost no fees, that’s what the light bulb goes off and they realize the value that that has.”

Ultimately, leading with Lightning helps newbies realize that Bitcoin can be easy and even fun. In the Isle of Man, where there is a budding Bitcoin community, United Kingdom-based exchange CoinCorner has found inventive ways to demonstrate the Lightning Network.

Bitcoin Ekasi Project next to Mossel Bay, South Africa. Source: Twitter

Hermann Vivier, founder of Bitcoin Ekasi in the Western Cape of South Africa, shared a few tricks to establishing a Bitcoin economy. First, while it’s important to “put one foot in front of the other,” and “just start,” he said, try to see if there’s a preexisting community to tap into:

“We had something that that was already existing and we built the Bitcoin community on top of that.”

Bitcoin Ekasi is a township project that keeps kids away from gangs in school and among South Africa’s Atlantic waves, where they learn lifeguarding and surf skills. Vivier teaches Bitcoin as another element of the kids’ education.

Recent: What can blockchain do for increasing human longevity?

Furthermore, Vivier also shared that it’s important to keep it simple. Stick to Bitcoin, he joked. His hours of labor and love given to this community project have turned him into a “Bitcoin maximalist,” as it helps in avoiding the risk of scams in crypto, while blockchain buzzwords can get in the way of making progress:

“I would say 100% focus on Bitcoin only. And if there was something better than Bitcoin out there, then that's what you should focus on. But at the moment Bitcoin is where it’s at.”

Nourou, founder of Bitcoin Senegal, a community-led Bitcoin project in West Africa, told Cointelegraph, “You cannot create a community if you aren’t capable of answering people’s questions–and that requires a wide range of knowledge.”

Iman Yudha, who leads a group of crypto and Bitcoin enthusiasts in Indonesia, agrees. He told Cointelegraph that it’s important to “Get educated first–before you make any decisions. That's my personal opinion.”

After establishing a solid basis of foundational knowledge about Bitcoin, crypto and security. Nourou recommends to start talking about Bitcoin with close relations:

“Start with the family if you can't convince your mother, your brother, your sister, the cousins, and so on, it’s a bad start.” 

He notes that the following step varies depending on the culture, business practice and environment. Over in Senegal, “it is the wealthiest who roughly define fashion, who define trends. So people tend to copy them.” It’s for that reason that Nourou tried to target his Bitcoin communication to those communities first. Incidentally, Nourou is hosting West Africa’s first major Bitcoin conference, Dakar Bitcoin Days, on Dec. 2 in West Africa’s largest theater.

Cointelegraph attended Dakar, Senegal's first ever Bitcoin meetup in 2022.

Lukas, a co-founder of Global Bitcoin Fest — which holds marathon Twitter Spaces for people all around the world — again encourages Bitcoin enthusiasts to focus on the people. It can be “lonely” in the land of Bitcoin, he told Cointelegraph, so finding a team with shared values can spur things along. He shared an example:

“It’s a conversation that I've had recently with two guys in Zimbabwe. They want to kickstart a [project] there. He wanted to do it, but he was alone. [...] Then he found Metamorphoses, another great maxi, and now they're forming a team — and the energy is completely different now.” 

Yudha chimed in, sharing that energy and enthusiasm are critical, and community builders should avoid being “toxic” where possible. 

Recent: FTX collapse: The crypto industry’s Lehman Brothers moment

In short, these Bitcoin pioneers suggest finding like-minded individuals to work with, starting small, taking advantage of existing communities, knowing and understanding the subject matter and not overstretching. The simplest way to do this is to focus on Bitcoin and Bitcoin only. And to get people interested and transacting, get people using the Lightning Network because that’s what gives people their own light bulb moment.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

South African grocery giant ‘Pick n Pay’ intends to accept Bitcoin in all stores nationwide

The company said it will allow customers to pay with any bitcoin lightning-enabled app and QR codes for speedy payments.

Pick n Pay, one of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains, is set to allow its customers to pay for items in all its stores using Bitcoin.

According to South African-based tech news outlet Tech Central, Pick N Pay is planning to roll out its cryptocurrency payments service to its stores nationwide in the coming months, after years of experimentation in select stores. The supermarket chain allegedly started experimenting with Bitcoin payments five years ago in Cape Town, but was stymied by expensive costs and long transaction wait times.

The nationwide rollout will allow the store's customers to pay for items using cryptocurrency through “trusted apps” on their smartphones, or by simply scanning a QR code and accepting the rand conversion rate at the time of payment.

As per the report, Chris Shortt, the group executive for IT at Pick n Pay, shared that the advancement and evolution of cryptocurrency technology over the years has made it possible to now “provide an affordable service for high volume, low-value transactions that will promote financial inclusion in South Africa."

Pick n Pay reportedly partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert during its pilot program to make it possible for customers to pay for items via the bitcoin lightning network.

Related: South African crypto landscape primed for TradFi growth after FSCA ruling

South Africa appears to be making headway when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrency in the African region. In October, South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) amended its financial advisory to define crypto assets in the country as financial products, making it possible for cryptocurrencies to be offered by both domestic and international South-African licensed financial service providers.

Chainalysis’ 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, published in September, also ranked South Africa 30th worldwide for cryptocurrency adoption. Various estimates support the notion that about 10-13% of the South African population are crypto holders.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

South African crypto landscape primed for TradFi growth after FSCA ruling

Industry insiders believe South Africa's move to classify cryptocurrencies as financial products could drive the adoption and legitimacy of the sector.

South African financial service providers have been primed to offer cryptocurrency products and services to customers after regulatory amendments in the country.

This comes after South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority amended its financial advisory act from 2002 on Oct. 19, defining crypto assets in the country as financial products. Most importantly, the definition means that cryptocurrencies can now be offered by financial service providers, both domestic or international, given that they are licensed in South Africa.

South Africa already commands a growing number of retail cryptocurrency users estimated to include as many as six million individuals. The country’s Reserve Bank has also taken a measured approach in its regulatory stance of the sector in an effort to ensure investor protection without hampering innovation.

Cointelegraph touched base with two prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, with both Luno and VALR serving significant user bases in South Africa. The companies are well placed to offer insights into the latest regulatory move, given that they cater to both retail and institutional clients in the country.

VALR CEO Farzam Ehsani labeled the FSCA’s move as ‘good news for South Africa setting a path towards regulating crypto asset service providers in the country' while ensuring ‘they are serving the public with integrity.' 

Marius Reitz, Luno general manager for Africa, echoed these sentiments by highlighting the importance of regulatory clarity not only for investors but for financial service providers in the country:

“The licensing requirements that will flow from this classification will drive high standards in the industry, particularly in relation to consumer protection, with potential investors easily able to identify those providers that satisfy regulatory requirements.”

Reitz also flagged the key benefit, which now allows financial advisors to formally advise clients on cryptocurrency investments. Before the FSCA amended the definition of crypto assets, financial advisors were not permitted to give advice on unregulated investment opportunities.

"The regulatory framework paves the way for wider institutional adoption. How this plays out will depend on the ability of more traditional finance companies and even banks to be able to fully support this newly classified financial product."

Chris Becker, cyber banking managing executive at Tyme Bank, also provided insights to Cointelegraph. The South African digital bank welcomed the move to regulate cryptocurrencies within existing frameworks as it looks to drive digital money services and payments.

Becker believes the move could bring some comfort to individuals that may have been cautious of interacting with crypto asset service providers due to concerns of a lack of regulation, having worked for private wealth manager Investec as its blockchain lead in his previous role.

Becker also agreed that the regulatory move may support greater adoption in the long-term if financial service providers use the new product category to offer crypto asset products to their large customer bases.

Nevertheless, regulatory uncertainty has not stopped corporates and institutions from gaining exposure to cryptocurrencies in South Africa. Both exchanges already work with a number of institutional clients.

VALR serves more than 700 corporates and institutions, which includes a number of large traditional finance institutions in South Africa. Ehsani said the firm has been focused on building its infrastructure for the past five years to bridge traditional finance in the country to cryptocurrency markets. Luno also allows corporate customers to use its platform.

Meanwhile Becker highlighted the reality that traditional financial service providers may not necessarily invest in cryptocurrencies as a result:

“Other regulations such as the Pension Funds Act and the Foreign Exchange Control Act do not yet make provision for crypto assets yet.”

VALR's CEO also believes that the country could see cryptocurrency-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and similar financial products being developed and released in the next few months now that regulatory oversight is becoming clear:

“I think we'll start seeing many more financial products related to crypto in the near future. Many people have been working on this for some time and now with the Declaration, we should expect to see much of this work become visible to the public.”

Reitz offered a more measured take on the subject, highlighting the FSCA announcement as a first step in creating a broad regulatory framework for crypto assets in South Africa. He believes more clarity is needed around the wider application of the regulation with regard to permitted cryptocurrency financial products, highlighting America's standpoint as an example:

"In the United States, Bitcoin ETFs can only hold BTC futures contracts or stocks of companies and other ETFs with exposure to cryptocurrencies as the SEC continues to evaluate the approval of ETFs that own BTC directly."

Meanwhile, the FSCA delivered a more sobering message in a press conference that accompanied the Oct. 19 announcement. As Reuters initially reported, FSCA Regulatory Frameworks Department head Eugene Du Toit made it clear that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender in South Africa.

The regulator also stressed the importance of being able to grapple with scams and fraudulent activities in the space in an effort to protect local investors.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

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Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Report: Financial Services Giant Old Mutual Appointed Manager of South African Stablecoin Project’s Cash Reserves

Report: Financial Services Giant Old Mutual Appointed Manager of South African Stablecoin Project’s Cash ReservesOne of South Africa’s largest financial services groups, Old Mutual, has reportedly been appointed manager of the ZARP stablecoin project’s cash reserves. Founders of the stablecoin are hopeful that the appointment of one of the country’s oldest financial services companies will help bolster confidence in the digital currency. Enhancing Credibility of the Stablecoin The South […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011