Reserve Bank to set up new fintech unit – likely to look at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has confirmed that it plans to unveil a new unit which will deal exclusively with the monitoring of fintech in South Africa.

Speaking to BusinessTech, the SARB said that it could not officially comment on what new technologies the unit will focus on, but said that an official media statement would be released detailing the new unit within the next week.

It has been strongly hinted that the unit will be regulatory in nature, and will focus on the development and positioning of new policies across the fintech arena – including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and new digital financial services.

Developments in the fintech space

The announcement comes at a time when South Africa is seeing significant developments in the fintech space.

Notably, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has said that it plans to provide clarity on the tax implications of transacting in cryptocurrencies in either an interpretation or practice note early this year.

SARS spokesperson Sandile Mamela said the revenue service, like most other revenue authorities in the world, is looking at the implications of virtual currency on its tax base.

“We are currently having exploratory discussions with other jurisdictions and will continue to explore options in the coming year,” said Memela.

Former FNB CEO and tech investor Michael Jordaan also announced plans to launch a new digital-bank in South Africa, called Bank Zero.

According to Yatin Narsai, Bank Zero’s CEO, the group will use mobile technology and other innovations to give more financial transparency and control to customers “in an intuitive, secure and affordable way”.

Other major recent developments include new digital insurance options, Patrice Motsepe’s Tyme, and new robo-financial advisors.


Read: SA Bitcoin wallet picks up funding from global blockchain firm

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