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First National Bank Shuts Down Accounts Related to Cryptocurrency

November 21, 2019
Dominic Mann


First National Bank Shuts Down Accounts Related to Cryptocurrency

In recent news, South African Bank FNB has shut down some major exchanges bank accounts in the country. VALR, Luno, and ICE3X are amongst some of the accounts to be closed.

FirstRand Bank apparently informed the exchanges of their most recent update where they will be considering its “risk appetite” in regard to cryptocurrencies and related exchanges. This means that they have decided to close the accounts of certain exchanges to ensure their safety and to evaluate the decisions in more detail for the future. If certain regulations are changed then FirstRand have stated they may revise their banking services for virtual currencies.

A letter seen by MyBroadband included the current information on the matter, saying:

“FirstRand Bank has been considering its risk appetite in respect of virtual currencies and virtual currency exchanges for some time.

Within this context the bank has taken the decision to discontinue the provision of banking services to virtual currency exchanges and/or entities dealing/trading in virtual currency.

Future regulatory clarity may cause us to revise our decision.”

Luno Africa general manager Marius Reitz told MyBroadband the following:

“We can confirm that FNB has decided to close our account with effect from end March 2020, along with other crypto exchanges in South Africa. We do not anticipate any impact to our existing customers as we have other banking relationships in place to support deposit and withdrawals on the platform.

In the absence of formal regulations, banks will continue to assess their exposure to cryptocurrencies. Luno is committed to working with the SA Reserve Bank and collaborating with other regulators to ensure they are prepared to embrace this change to our financial infrastructure.

We need to remember that cryptocurrencies are very new and so this move is not unique to SA while regulation across the globe continues to be shaped; it is one of the biggest challenges crypto companies face globally.”

It seems Luno and ICE3X are confident in their abilities to recover from this and bounce back as they already have plans in place to do so. Users of these exchanges shouldn’t be affected as the companies behind them have backup plans to ensure their safety.