Cape Town-based asset management firm Sygnia Ltd. has plans to open a cryptocurrency exchange in Q3 in response to growing interest in cryptocurrencies from investors across the country.
SygniaCoin & Sygnia Cryptocurrency Fund
The exchange will be called SygniaCoin, and will ‘offer investors a secure trading and execution platform backed by an international infrastructure, well-designed custody, and integration with standard savings products,’ the company said yesterday. Sygnia, which has 181 billion rand ($14.5 billion) under management, will also be developing a fund that will permit investors to have access to a range of cryptocurrencies.
“With its fintech focus, Sygnia is well-positioned to become the first major financial services institution to embrace cryptocurrencies and to offer investors a secure trading and execution platform backed by an international infrastructure, well-designed custody and integration with standard savings products.”
Sygnia’s CEO Magda Wierzycka says the firm aims to launch SygniaCoin in the third quarter of 2018. She also said that SygniaCoin’s polices and protocols will be based off the framework developed and utilized by New York State, in attempts to stay on the right side of the law in an ever-changing regulatory climate.
“To ensure the highest levels of integrity and security for clients, we are basing our policies, protocols and processes on existing regulatory framework applicable to cryptocurrency exchanges registered in New York State, USA.”
Wierzycka also noted that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has already indicated that trading and investing in cryptocurrencies are subject to tax. “We expect further regulatory frameworks to follow,” she added.
On top of the cryptocurrency exchange, the chief executive also said that a range of new products is being designed to cater to the growing needs of retail and institutional investors, including a ‘Sygnia Cryptocurrency Fund’ that will invest in a wide range of cryptocurrencies on behalf of investors.
In April it was announced that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was setting up an investigative unit to monitor developments in the crypto space and help draft future regulations. The unit will be in charge of setting up a proof of concept (PoC) for DLT-based (digital ledger technology-based) interbank clearing and settlement.
Bridget King, Director of Banking Practice at the central bank, says the new unit will be tasked with establishing a self-regulatory approach to the cryptocurrency industry, which would translate into a non-governmental body that aims to prevent risk, while at the same time ensuring that the nascent industry is not over-regulated so it can continue to grow.
To do this, the self-regulatory organization (SRO) would be given the power to publish its own rules, directives, and industry standards.
In January, the SARB established a fintech task force to review the central bank’s position on cryptocurrencies and address regulatory issues like exchange control impacts, monetary policy, and financial stability. The investigative unit Project Khoka is a product of this task force.