South African Central Bank 'Open' to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

South Africa’s central bank is “open” to cryptocurrencies and blockchain, according to new statements from its governor.

Aug 23, 2016 at 3:06 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:27 p.m. UTC

South Africa’s central bank is “open” to cryptocurrencies and blockchain, according to new statements from its governor.

In a speech today at a cybersecurity conference held in Johannesburg, governor Lesetja Kganyago indicated that the South African Reserve Bank is exploring the technology and interested in innovations that may stem from its development.

Kganyago, who has served as governor of the central bank since 2014, suggested that the Reserve Bank would look for possible uses that would help the institution "execute our mandate more effectively and efficiently".

Kganyago told attendees:

"As a central bank, we are open to innovations despite the different opinions of regulators on matters such as cryptocurrencies. We are willing to consider the merits and risks of blockchain technology and other distributed ledgers."

The remarks suggest a greater degree of interest on the part of the central bank in the technology, coming less than two years after it released a position paper on digital currencies.

At the time, the bank warned local consumers about the perceived risks of using digital currencies from an anti-money laundering and cyberfraud perspective. However, it noted that it "does not oversee, supervise or regulate the VC landscape".

Private institutions in South Africa, on the other hand, have made significant overtures to explore, test and deploy the technology.

A number of domestic banks have been involved in tests using ethereum, and startups working in the country have explored use cases like crowdfunded energy.

Image via Shutterstock

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