African Crypto Exchange Yellow Card Goes Live In Botswana

7th November 2022

Yellow Card Financial, an African cryptocurrency exchange, has become the first African company to receive licensing to trade in Botswana, potentially bringing more stability to the crypto market and helping curb illicit finance and the misuse of digital assets.

Seth Onyango, bird story agency

This a major shot in the arm for crypto trading in Africa that, if replicated, could help states raise taxes, offer consumer protection, and safeguard against market manipulation and fraud.

Most countries have until now been apprehensive about embracing decentralised coins over illegal use and tax evasion concerns. Yellow Card’s regulatory nod from Botswana’s Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) fires the starting pistol for industry supervision of cryptos in Africa.

Chris Maurice, CEO and co-founder of Yellow Card, expects the licence to help inspire confidence and streamline operations across the entire 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.

The Botswana entry is expected to unlock more investment, fuel an expansion into other markets, and allow Yellow Card to offer additional financial services.

Neighbouring South Africa is one of the few countries taking significant steps to implement tighter regulations around cryptocurrencies and digital tokens.

With the licence in place, it will be more difficult for those who masquerade as legitimate Virtual Asset Service Providers to scam people.

Botswana’s approval is also music to the ears of small-scale crypto investors using peer-to-peer (P2P) to navigate legal and regulatory headwinds.

Those platforms have struck a chord with users across the continent. Consumers in Nigeria and Kenya use them to sidestep stringent financial regulations that curtail cash transfers from banks to cryptocurrency businesses.

Regulators in the two states have advised banks not to allow these transfers. Still, many platforms let customers trade cash for cryptocurrency amongst themselves.

Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa grew 1200 per cent between July 2020 and June 2021, making it the fastest adoption rate in the world.

Reports suggest that Africa amassed 105.6 billion US dollars worth of cryptocurrencies for the year ending June 2021, driven by P2P transactions in key growth markets.

Trading volumes for several African currencies have grown significantly on LocalBitcoins and Paxful, the world’s biggest P2P platforms by transaction volume since 2016.

Digital analytics firm Chainalysis’ latest figures put the annual growth of transactions volume – made up of retail-sized transfers – in Africa at seven per cent.

Meanwhile, the growth of cryptocurrency in Africa comes as several countries look to launch their own virtual money backed and issued by central banks.

Consumers on the continent are increasingly adopting electronic payment methods such as East Africa’s Lipa Na M-PESA, credit cards and payment gateways.

bird story agency

Written by Ivor Moyo

Social media maven. Team Member @ Checkoutafrica

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