Friday 24 January 2020, 15h30: Durban
In an article published hours ago on South African tech news site, IT Web, it has been claimed that Nedbank may follow FNB in closing crypto related accounts. Speaking with SA Crypto, AltCoinTrader CEO Richard de Sousa says he believes this is hype.
“I commented in the IT Web article about Nedbank closing crypto accounts,” de Sousa stated to SA Crypto, “But I believe it has turned into media hype. The reality is: Nedbank are no longer taking on new accounts for crypto related companies, but they are not closing current accounts,” de Sousa continued.
“We have had an ongoing relationship with Nedbank for a number of years, one of our primary banking partners, and to the best of my knowledge, the bank has not even said a single thing with regards to this news.”
The article claims to have inside information from an undisclosed source, but both Farzam Ehsani (CEO at VALR) and Marius Reitz (GM for Africa at Luno) believe this is unlikely, and news they have yet to hear.
Here are audio statements from the three exchange executives:
VALR’s Ehsani, former Blockchain Lead at RMB, said that VALR has been given no indication whatsoever about plans to close crypto accounts, and that he even expects FNB to reverse their 2019 decision when regulatory clarity is provided. The affable CEO even went onto say in the article that he is convinced that every bank will offer cryptocurrencies to their customers without exception in the future. A statement that aligns with de Sousa’s earlier claim that such a move by Nedbank would send a message that banks are threatened by the disruptive nature of cryptoassets.
SA Crypto has reached out to Nedbank for clarity on this news, and is working on verifying the information as soon as we are able. Until then, the fact that the three leading crypto exchanges in South Africa are yet to hear any such info leads us to believe this could well be a case of “broken down telephone”. Bear in mind, these exchanges have extensive working relationships with all the banks in South Africa, as well as the South African Reserve Bank.
With the SA Reserve Bank set to come out with regulatory clarity in Q1 this year, it doesn’t make sense that Nedbank would make such a drastic move before the SARB’s position is released. On the other side of this coin, perhaps the SARB’s position will be a stronger and stricter one, leading to Nedbank’s early considerations? Although this too seems unlikely in light of many of the SARB’s positions on cryptoassets released in the last decade.
We will be watching this story carefully, and will update as and when we have more information.