South Africa: Bank Drops Bitcoin Exchanges Citing ‘Regulatory Clarity’
William Suberg's original article for cointelegraph.com reduced by 71%
Bitcoin exchanges in South Africa will lose their banking support after a local bank confirmed it was closing their accounts. As local internet magazine My Broadband reported on Nov. 19, FirstRand Bank - 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.Exchanges blocked due to "Risk appetite".
Exchanges affected have until the end of March 2020 to make alternative arrangements, Luno Africa general manager Marius Reitz told the publication. "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. Commenting on the banking loss, Reitz meanwhile said Luno was not concerned and that other lenders were still prepared to service the business. In an ironic twist, days later, PayPal's former chief financial officer had his bank account terminated.
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