Bank To Close Account Of Bitcoin Exchange In South Africa

Account Of Bitcoin Exchange In South Africa

Bitcoin (BTC) exchanges in South Africa are on the edge of losing their banking support after a local bank confirmed it was closing their accounts.

According to My Broadband on November 19th, FirstRand Bank (FNB) one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa sent letters regarding the move to an unspecified number of “major exchanges,” including Luno, ICE3X and VALR.

Per Luno Africa general manager Marius Reitz, Exchanges affected have until the end of March 2020 to make alternative arrangements.

The letter from FNB blames regulatory uncertainty for the decision. An excerpt reads:

“FirstRand Bank has been considering its risk appetite in respect of virtual currencies and virtual currency exchanges for some time. Within this context the bank has taken the decision to discontinue the provision of banking services to virtual currency exchanges and/or entities dealing/trading in virtual currency. Future regulatory clarity may cause us to revise our decision.”

South Africa continues to enjoy a surge in cryptocurrency interest as its currency wavers. Peer-to-peer platform Paxful alone reported a 2,800% volume increase last month.

Reitz however said Luno was not concerned and that other lenders were still prepared to service the business while commenting on the loss.

He said: “We do not anticipate any impact to our existing customers as we have other banking relationships in place to support deposit and withdrawals on the platform,”

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