TechInAfrica — Reports stating that Nedbank is planning to close down bank accounts of crypto exchanges are false.
Commenting on the situation, Richard De Sousa, the CEO of AltcoinTrader, one of South Africa’s crypto exchange platforms stated, “I commented in the IT Web article about Nedbank closing crypto accounts. But I believe it has turned into media hype. The reality is: Nedbank is no longer taking on new accounts for crypto-related companies, but they are not closing current accounts.”
As previously reported, FNB closed down accounts linked to cryptocurrency exchanges in November 2019. However, stakeholders at major South African crypto exchanges say fellow ‘big five’ bank Nedbank is not planning on adopting a similar action.
South African tech publication ITWeb had reported on Friday (January 24, 2019), that Nedbank was looking to follow FNB’s footsteps in shutting down crypto exchange bank accounts. According to ITWeb, Nedbank officials told the media outlet that the bank was conducting internal deliberations on how to proceed with its crypto business clients.
AltcoinTrader has already seen its account with FNB terminated with the bank citing political and financial risks. According to reports, the bank will close other accounts belonging to the like of Luno before the end of Q2 2020.
With reports of banks looking to withdraw support for crypto exchange platforms in South Africa, industry stakeholders say the government needs to move forward with enacting clear-cut cryptocurrency regulations in the country.
Reports emerged back in December 2019, that the South African government was set to introduce new laws to regulate crypto usage. These laws reportedly focus on checkmating the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal money transfers.
For stakeholders like De Sousa, the absence of clearly defined virtual currency laws that cover several aspects of the industry creates a vacuum which does little to help cryptocurrency adoption in the country.
Up until now, the extent of crypto governance in South Africa has remained limited to tax compliance and tracking of cryptocurrency transactions. Bitcoin remains popular in the country with data from Google trends showing the country is second place behind Nigeria in terms of search interest. Twitter/Square’s Jack Dorsey even shows interest in the bitcoin industry in the continent with his support for a crypto company, Bit Sika.