Crypto’s Are Not Currency But Tokens: SA Central Bank


Cryptocurrencies are quite confusing, to be honest. It seems very few people fully understand cryptos and those who do are usually unable to fully explain how the digital currencies work to the general populace.

Is South Africa back-tracking?

South Africa which has long been considered one of the pioneers in Africa when it comes to embracing cryptocurrency seems to be adopting a more cautious approach in regards to cryptocurrencies. The Deputy Governor of the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB), Francois Goepe, has gone on record saying they choose to call these coins crypto-tokens and not currencies.

The Deputy Governor said:

We don’t use the term ‘cryptocurrency’ because it doesn’t meet the requirements of money in the economic sense of the stable means of exchange, a unit of measure and a stable unit of value. We prefer to use the word ‘cyber-token.’

Unlike our own central bank, the SARB has not opted for an outright ban but instead has deployed a fintech unit which will carry out research and ensure that however cryptos are used they still comply with the exchange control regulations. We’ve argued time and time again that this is a better approach than an outright ban.

What needs to happen for cryptos to become viable mediums of exchange?

The problem with cryptos right now seems to be that of use cases and the fact that they are used to circumvent regulatory authorities. As much as people would like financial ‘autonomy’ (or whichever buzzwords are being thrown about), regulations are meant to protect people.

Lack of awareness…

As a technology in its formative years, cryptos still have a long road ahead of them if they are to become the default currency. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts seem to believe the cryptos are the answer but right now the lack of awareness means that in reality, cryptos have a niche community that understands them whilst the general public have no idea how it all really works. This disconnect is what will continue to discourage the use of cryptos and until that is solved I don’t see cryptos taking over from traditional currencies.

What do you think? Are cryptocurrencies indeed the future or is there too much uncertainty still surrounding them for us to know? Would love to know your thoughts on this, so let’s engage in the comments below.


  1. Flawed

    I don’t think crypto per say but block chain definitely…crypto only value is the conversion back to dollars which then means speculation… In Zimbabwe it’s the easiest way to get a premium and the easiest way to get rid of RTGS… Hence it’s trading much higher here than its real value just like the stock market… All caused by cash crisis and financial crisis. Don’t get me wrong we probably headed in that direction but it’s way overvalued and will be used concurrently with fiat.i don’t think zim is ready plus we need to sort out our multiple crisis… For more we should follow and definitely not lead…I actually think the rbz was right on this one but not for the right reasons

  2. Tumai

    A currency is a currency because two or more people agree to exchange goods for it. People can agree that leaves or bird poop or stones are valuable, and can be exchanged for other goods – that makes them currencies.
    Govts hate cryptos because the whole nation can decide they will exclusively use a crypto as the main currency – and they (the govt) won’t be able to do anything about it.

  3. Thomas

    Jesus these Reserve banks are just funny, they really want to be seen as if they know it all when facts available in public prove otherwise. Sure cryptocurrencies can be confusing especially if you don’t understand the techno-world and I would expect the reserve banks to hold their comments until when they have done proper research than humiliating themselves in public like now. Cryptocurrencies are not tokens but yes some cryptocurrencies allow you to create cryptocurrency tokens that function using the base cryptocurrency structure, so please next time don’t tell us that mobile applications are not software programs running on your device but some kind of a document you open and close.

    For more on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies please go through my latest report available for FREE from my blog at – or go to my twitter @Bitcoinguide2

  4. Sagitarr

    With all due respect Thomas, when a currency requires a manual to explain what it is and how it is used and its benefits etc, many folks tend to ignore it. You can’t carry a manual with you to refer to whenever you want to transact!
    The bitcoin/cryptocurrency phenomenon is so full of new “information” it actually turns most people off (including technical people as well). At this point, I think it is fair to describe it as “cryptic”. Maybe when it becomes less cryptic the uptake will be better. Governments need to protect the ignorant & unwary citizens from losing money through this particular channel, more so that its proponents do not want any regulation at all and are agitating for an alternative to the traditional monetary system. This is similar to the EU stance on privacy on facebook.
    Your download link gives a 404 error and what you describe as your “complete profile” is one sentence proclaiming your virtue as a webmaster. The coincidence is facetious.

    There are many sources of info on this technology for those interested but the bottom line is that many people are being taken for a ride due to ignorance, plus misrepresentation by those apparently “in the know” who, in some cases, view themselves as intellectually superior to everyone else (which personally I find condescending). So govt intervention becomes necessary and urgent.
    The “techno-world” is by far much wider than writing/amending websites and consumption of the latest s/w fads.

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