PAN-AFRICAN cryptocurrency leader, Yellow Card has made another significant stride in the industry, becoming the first cryptocurrency company on the continent to be granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider licence to operate in Botswana. The licence, in accordance with Section 11 of the Virtual Asset Act, 2022, was issued by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority [NBFIRA] on the 29th of September 2022 and will become the standard for crypto operations in the country.
Chris Maurice, CEO and co-founder of Yellow Card, says that this is a monumental moment for the company, its customers, investors and the crypto industry as a whole as it positively impacts everyone across the value chain.
‘This opens up greater channels of expansion with regards to payment partners, banking and expanding our client base across Africa. This will further show regulators in other markets that we are not just any other cryptocurrency company – we are pioneering, pushing boundaries and setting the standard. All the more reason for them to work together with us as well,’ he said.
Yellow Card complies with global AML, Sanctions as well as the FATF Travel Rule requirements and KYC of all customers across all jurisdictions. The company is also registered on GoAML and with local Financial Intelligence Units in most of its jurisdictions to help report on AML, Sanctions, and Financial Crime matters. The company also complies with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Botswana is one of a few countries in the world taking significant steps to implement tighter regulations around cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. Previously, the Bank of Botswana warned of the risks of investing in unregulated cryptocurrencies. And now, with the licence in place, it will be more difficult for those who masquerade as legitimate Virtual Asset Service Providers to scam people.
Although Botswana has a small population, they boast a significantly strong purchasing power due to the Pula’s strength relative to other African currencies. When it comes to digital innovation, citizens have a high-risk tolerance and are always looking for the next big thing in the digital space. That said, the appetite for innovation and the challenges ordinary citizens face due to the lack of access is a massive gap in the Botswanan market that Yellow Card is catering to.
Keletso Thophego, Botswana Country Manager for Yellow Card says, ‘The majority of the population is unbanked because of the increasing difficulty of getting bank accounts for the average people who do not have payslips. There’s no doubt that because of blockchain technology we have been able to cater to the unbanked in a faster and efficient way.
With the new licence in place, the future of cryptocurrency trading and other digital tokens looks positive.’