Botswana clamps down on unregistered crypto dealers
Botswana Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) has moved to close unregistered crypto players operating in the country.
Last week, the regulator directed unregistered crypto services provider FS Global Properties Limited Botswana to cease operations.
Since the Virtual Assets Act came into effect on 22 February 2022, NBFIRA has intensified measures against unregistered crypto dealers in Botswana.
FS Global Properties Limited Botswana has fallen foul of the Act.
The unregistered company had been using a crypto trading platform to provide services related to a virtual token exchange.
FS Global Properties Limited Botswana has also been facilitating the exchange between virtual assets and fiat currency, even though it did not have the required licence to do so.
Ditshetsa Makepe, NBFIRA’s acting chief executive officer, said: “The regulatory authority would like to inform members of the public that FS Global Properties Limited Botswana is not licenced to provide virtual asset business services in Botswana, therefore, the business and its representatives are operating illegally.”
Makepe added: “FS Global Properties Limited Botswana has been directed to cease and desist operations.
"Members of the public are, therefore, warned to refrain from doing business with FS Global Properties Limited Botswana.”
NBFIRA said Virtual Assets Service Provision (VASP) businesses were granted three months to regularise operations, following the commencement of the Virtual Assets Act in February 2022. Once the three month period ended, all unlicensed VASPs were considered illegal operators.
Speaking to ITWeb Africa, NBFIRA spokesperson Boa Ntebele, said the regulator is employing various means to identify unlicenced operators.
“In the event that the Authority becomes aware of illegal operators, including VASPs, appropriate and swift action is taken, which includes, but not limited to, instructing the illegal operator to cease their operations,” explained Ntebele.
Botswana’s Virtual Assets Act specifies penalties to be levied against unlicenced operators, that include fines of up to P250 000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
NBFIRA warned the public against conducting business with unlicenced VASPS or unlicenced entities operating within the non-bank financial institutions sector.
“Exposure to poor business conduct will negatively affect stakeholders’ confidence levels and reputation of the industry," said Ntebele.
“In light of this, the licencing requirements entail that companies meet the minimum capital requirements to ensure they will operate as a going concern for the foreseeable future.”