...following issuance of first virtual asset service provider license

NBFIRA has announced that issuing of the country’s first virtual asset service provider license is demonstration of the continued growth, depth and dynamism of the local market. Last year, during the fourth quarter, NBFIRA granted Yellow Card Botswana a licence to operate as a Virtual Asset Service Provider in accordance with Section 11 of the Virtual Asset Act, 2022, after it had satisfied the licensing requirements. The Authority says the development is in alignment with international developments.

“Members of the public are now at liberty to conduct business with virtual asset service providers with the comfort that the service provider is held accountable by the Regulatory Authority through its regulatory and supervisory processes,” said NBFIRA Head, Communications and International Affairs, Boa Ntebele. NBFIRA says it is committed to ensure that licensed entities within the NBFI sector treat their customers fairly, honour the customers’ right to information and prevent abusive business practices.

Ntebele further said customers of licensed entities within the NBFI sector who have failed to amicably resolve a complaint with their service provider, may escalate the matter to the Authority. Ntebele further emphasized that NBFIRA will not lose guard as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards require countries to assess and mitigate the risks associated with virtual asset businesses and subject them to supervision or monitoring as they are viewed as prospects for money laundering, terrorism financing and possible tax evasion.

“This was one of the deficiencies that FATF had identified and requested Botswana to correct. This is an important component in building and sustaining the confidence of local and international stakeholders in the integrity of the industries within the local Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) sector,” Ntebele said. Meanwhile, Ntebele said all licensed entities are required to adhere to statutory obligations that primarily seek to ensure that business operations are safe and sound.