South Africa Approves 59 Crypto Licenses, 262 Pending

South Africa becomes the first African country to license crypto exchanges.

Robot approving South Africa's blockchain locations on a map.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • South Africa has made a progressive step toward crypto.
  • The country has licensed tens of crypto businesses.
  • Hundreds of other applications are still pending.

South Africa’s financial conduct watchdog, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has approved tens of crypto licenses at once, local media outlets reported on Thursday.

The development comes after the regulator intimated in 2022 that cryptocurrencies should be treated as regulated financial products to protect users from risks and prevent using digital assets in money laundering and terrorism financing.

FSCA Begins Licensing Crypto Businesses

According to a local media report on March 14, the FSCA has approved 59 operating licenses for crypto businesses in South Africa, making the country the continent’s pioneer jurisdiction to embrace crypto regulation.


The licensing regime for crypto businesses further gives the central bank’s Financial Surveillance Department explicit powers to mandate crypto trading platforms in the country to report all digital asset transactions.

According to Felicity Mabaso, a divisional executive at the FSCA, the 59 approvals are part of 355 license applications submitted to the regulator before the November 30 deadline last year. Two hundred sixty-two applications are pending, and the regulator is expected to decide soon.  

While South Africa had begun working on a tailored crypto framework in 2021 when it initiated the conversation on digital assets, the country aborted the plans when it labeled cryptocurrencies as financial products, bringing them under the purview of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS).


Besides providing requirements for licensing crypto firms, the FAIS Act offers a range of customer protections and allows regulators to take action against non-compliant businesses.

In the meantime, stablecoins are exempted from the classification as the country seeks to implement a policy change to include them in its definition of crypto assets.

Read about South Africa’s bet on stablecoins:

How South Africa’s Stablecoin Bet Extends Beyond Banks

Stay updated on OKX’s provisional crypto license in Singapore:

OKX Wins Singapore’s In-Principle Approval for MPI License

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Brian Danga

Brian Danga, a Kenyan crypto reporter, is dedicated to delivering breaking news and updates from the cryptocurrency world. With a background as a Web3 writer and project manager, he recognizes the importance of unbiased reporting. Holding an LLB degree from the University of Nairobi, Brian's analytical skills contribute to his accurate news reporting. His personal interests include cooking, watching documentaries, reading, and engaging in intellectual discussions.