FSCA releases list of licensed crypto asset service providers

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The FSCA had licensed 138 crypto asset service providers (CASPs) under the FAIS Act by the end of June.

The Authority has received 383 licence applications to date, of which five have been declined, the FSCA said in a statement on Tuesday.

A further 80 applications have been voluntarily withdrawn following engagements with the FSCA on the appropriateness of the applicants’ business and operating models.

The remaining applications are still being considered.

The licensing process for CASPs started on 1 June 2023. Existing institutions that were rendering financial services relating to crypto assets had to submit their licence applications by 30 November 2023. The FSCA has continued to receive new applications since then.

In April 2024, the FSCA confirmed it had approved 75 institutions to be licensed as CASPs. By 30 June, the Authority had approved a further 63 applications.

Click here to download the names of the 138 licensed CASPs and the activities for which they have been authorised.

The FSCA said the public should note that its licensing powers are limited to the authorisation and supervision of CASPs only insofar as they render financial services related to crypto assets as defined under the FAIS Act – that is, advice, intermediary, and investment management services. This authorisation does not include the recognition of crypto assets as a legal form of tender or cryptocurrency.

The South African Reserve Bank does not recognise crypto assets as currency. Any media reports implying otherwise are incorrect.

Not Fit and Proper

The FSCA said the main reasons for CASP licence applications being declined relate to applicants having failed to meet the applicable Fit and Proper Requirements, particularly in respect of the following:

  • Operational ability requirements – the failure to provide clear and comprehensive business plans and business model descriptions outlining crypto asset activities and key business and operational frameworks to support such activities.
  • Competency requirements – the failure or inability to demonstrate the requisite knowledge and practical experience pertaining to crypto assets.

The FSCA said institutions that have voluntarily withdrawn their applications or whose applications have been declined can re-apply, provided they can demonstrate full and proper compliance with the licensing requirements. In the meantime, they may not undertake any CASP-related activities as defined under the FAIS Act.

Unlawful entities under investigation

Any institution or person found to be undertaking such activities without authorisation will be subject to regulatory action by the FSCA. This does not apply to institutions or persons who submitted their licence application by 30 November 2023 and are still awaiting the finalisation of their applications.

In its Regulatory Actions Report for 2023/24, the Authority said its Enforcement Division has established an investigation team to deal specifically with persons or entities that did not apply for a licence or whose licence applications have been declined and who are conducting crypto financial services unlawfully. It said 30 cases were under investigation.

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