Standard Bank wants to be a fast follower of crypto, not a leader

“We move with the world, but you don’t want to be leaders on some of these things. You want to be fast followers,” the bank CEO said. 

Standard Bank wants to be a fast follower of crypto, not a leader
Image source: Standard Bank & Getty Images via Canva | Design by Ifeouwa Awowoye for Mariblock. 

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest lender by assets, has revealed that it is watching cryptocurrency developments but will not dive into the market just yet.

Key quote  

“We move with the world, but you don’t want to be leaders on some of these things. You want to be fast followers,” Fuzile said. 

Quick facts  

  • CEO Lungisa Fuzile said that the bank will be a "fast follower" once mainstream adoption kicks in, but that the bank is mindful of the risks involved in cryptocurrencies. 
  • In an interview with Bloomberg, Fuzile stated that offering digital assets could be misconstrued by clients as an endorsement of cryptocurrencies.  
  • Standard Bank will, however, not deny services to digital asset companies, he said.  

What was said 

“We are very interested, we manage our explorations carefully, we do them with heightened interest when we collaborate with our regulators and other banks in the system to understand them better.” 

Zoom in  

  • The bank had previously criticized digital assets. In March, the bank’s Chief Executive, Sim Tshabalala expressed skepticism over the value of privately generated digital currencies.  
  • On the other hand, he claimed CBDCs could reduce financial crime and increase financial inclusion in the formal sector.  

Zoom out  

  • The country’s central bank — South African Reserve Bank — had earlier advised financial institutions to do business with crypto service providers. This directive came after some local banks blocked customers from purchasing crypto from exchanges with their credit and debit cards.  
  • In South Africa, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is in the process of drafting regulations for the cryptocurrency industry. 
  • Just recently, Mariblock reported that the FSCA mandated crypto exchanges in South Africa to obtain a license by the end of the year.  
  • According to the regulatory body, it is aimed at protecting financial consumers from the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.