According to Equithy Senior Account Manager, Bernadette Murphy, South Africa-based Standard Bank, one of the biggest banks in Africa, is still watching from the sidelines as the crypto market develops. The bank has yet to make a move and actively participate in the market.
Standard Bank CEO Aims To Be a ‘Fast Follower’
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Bank’s South African branch, Lungisa Fuzile, the institution does aim to move forward with the trend. That being said, it doesn’t intend to be a market leader in this regard. Speaking during an interview on Bloomberg Television, he mentioned that the company intends to become a fast follower.
Standard Bank, which is the continent’s biggest lender by assets, is still monitoring the development of digital assets while taking note of the risks involved. He stated that the investment group is quite interested but is trying to explore new areas carefully.
That being said, Standard Bank has a heightened interest in the asset class. Moreover, it will maintain that same level of curiosity and interest when collaborating with other banking institutions and financial regulators to better understand crypto assets.
Banks Refuse To Offer Services To Crypto Exchanges
At present, most lenders operating in South Africa have declined to provide their banking services to crypto platforms. Many of them cite a lack of appropriate regulation surrounding digital assets in South Africa and the risks of associating with a volatile investment like cryptocurrency.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there’s no hope of the country’s banks rolling out some sort of crypto-support services. In fact, South Africa’s Reserve Bank has established specific groups to study certain digital assets.
At the same time, they have encouraged lenders to offer some banking services to digital asset exchanges. The reason for this is that it will give the regulator some much-needed visibility into the inner workings of the sector.
South Africa Set To Roll Out Crypto Regulations
Needless to say, South Africa is also putting in efforts to roll out sustainable cryptocurrency regulation. The government has tasked the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to oversee the regulation surrounding cryptocurrencies. Consequently, the FSCA has already announced that crypto exchanges operating in South Africa need to register their companies and get a license to operate in the country. Specifically, they’ll need to do so by the end of this year.
And if a large number of crypto exchanges comply instead of shuttering operations in the country, it would be a big deal for the country. It could put South Africa on the map as one of the most developed economies in Africa to roll out crypto regulations.
Right now, Equithy’s Bernadette Murphy doesn’t expect Standard Bank to make any sudden moves to enter the crypto market. However, it’s quite likely that it will continue to observe the trend and see how many exchanges register themselves with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.
From a business standpoint, it would be counterproductive to enter a certain sector of the market only for a majority of players to cease operations. Therefore, it’s possible that the bank will make a move as soon as other banking institutions start showing support for crypto.