Crypto fraud shock: Batswana lose millions to scams

People walking in main mall. PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
People walking in main mall. PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

Just one cryptocurrency operator has approached the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) for licensing, as a three-month grace period to comply with the new law expired on Tuesday, Mmegi can reveal.

The poor response comes as a report from the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) indicates a 400% increase in the value of suspicious transaction reports received last year, with cryptocurrency scams leading the pack.

Under the Virtual Assets Act passed in February, all operators of cryptocurrency and other virtual assets offering these within Botswana were required to have approached NBFIRA by May 31 or face fines of up to P250,000 and/or five years in jail, should they continue operating. The new law, which Parliament passed in line with anti-money laundering global best practice covers Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).

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