South African Banks Block Crypto Trading on International Exchanges: Report

Customers of Johannesburg-based bank Absa received an error message when attempting to buy crypto on Binance.

Jun 23, 2021 at 4:06 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:15 p.m. UTC

Banks in South Africa are blocking customers from using their debit and credit cards to purchase crypto from international exchanges, according to local tech-news outlet Mybroadband.

  • Customers of Johannesburg-based bank Absa received an error message when attempting to buy crypto on Binance, Mybroadband reported Monday.
  • Absa subsequently said transactions were blocked in line with South African Reserve Bank regulations and were industrywide. The move took effect Friday, Mybroadband reported.
  • Existing regulation does not "allow for cross-border or foreign-exchange transfers for the explicit purpose of purchasing crypto assets," the central bank said on its website.
  • "From an exchange control perspective, the Financial Surveillance Department is unable to approve any transactions of this nature."
  • The Reserve Bank didn't respond to an emailed request for comment by press time.
  • The news may trigger concern of a regulatory crackdown on South Africa's crypto industry.
  • Earlier this month, the country's Financial Sector Conduct Authority announced its intention to start regulating crypto assets "in a phased and structured approach."
  • A paper published with the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group recommended imposing anti-money laundering rules on crypto asset service providers and monitoring cross-border financial flows.

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