Binance pushes back against warning from South Africa regulator
In response to a warning from South Africa’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority, major cryptocurrency exchange Binance has said it is in compliance with local regulators and is not offering financial advice or intermediary services to residents.
In a Friday statement from Binance, the crypto exchange implied the warning from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, or FSCA, lacked authority because the group does not have the power to regulate “crypto-related investments” in South Africa. The exchange also pushed back against allegations that South Africans used the Binance South Africa Telegram group to access services for the crypto exchange, saying the online community promoted blockchain education, but did not provide financial advice or services.
Though the FSCA is an agency of the South African government, Binance claimed the country’s Financial Intelligence Centre was the “major regulator” with which it had been working to be in compliance with local laws. According to the exchange, it has contacted the FSCA for clarification as to its Sept. 3 warning and to address any potential concerns regulators may have regarding Binance.
“Binance.com is registered with the FIC as a voluntary self-disclosure institution,” said the exchange. “Binance complies with the FIC Act obligations relating to establishing and verifying of clients’ identities, record keeping and reporting suspicious or unusual transactions.”
In its warning, the FSCA urged the South African public to exercise caution in any investments involving Binance Group, which it described as an “international company” domiciled in the Seychelles. However, according to Binance’s response, the company has no associated entity under that name in the archipelago nation.
South Africa’s policy on crypto has been seemingly standoffish until recently, when local regulators announced they would be reevaluating their stance on digital assets. The country’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group said in July it would be laying the groundwork for the “phased and structured” regulation of cryptocurrencies in South Africa. However, the FSCA has sometimes cited cryptocurrency scams and financial risks to promote stricter regulations.
The FSCA warning comes following financial regulators in different countries have said Binance’s parent company or its affiliates are not authorized to provide certain financial services to their residents. Authorities in Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands, Thailand, Canada, Japan and Singapore have issued statements warning investors to exercise caution in regards to Binance, or claiming the exchange was operating illegally.