South African Bitcoin ETF torpedoed

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) refused Sygnia’s request to list a new Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in South Africa, citing a lack of a regulatory framework.

A Bitcoin ETF tracks the cryptocurrency price and allows investors to buy into the digital currency through the JSE, removing the need to trade Bitcoin itself.

It also removes the complexities related to storing Bitcoin and moving money into, and out of, cryptocurrency exchanges.

The JSE’s quick rejection of Sygnia’s Bitcoin ETF plan came as a surprise to Sygnia founder and executive chairman Magda Wierzycka.

Speaking to The Money Show, she said she did not expect an immediate acceptance of the Bitcoin ETF but did not expect a quick rejection.

“We expected the JSE to put in it ‘file 13’ and if and when they were ready that Sygnia would be the first in the queue,” Wierzycka said.

Magda Wierzycka
Sygnia founder, Magda Wierzycka

Commenting on the value of a cryptocurrency ETF, she said it would have attracted attention, and in turn money, to the JSE.

Despite the volatility in the cryptocurrency market, she said, there is strong demand from young investors to put money into Bitcoin.

This is not the first time Sygnia failed to get approval to list a Bitcoin ETF. It unsuccessfully tried to list the world’s first cryptocurrency ETF on the JSE in 2017.

Sygnia CEO David Hufton said, “at the last minute, the JSE decided not to proceed, citing a lack of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies as the reason”.

The JSE’s former director of issuer regulation, John Burke said at the time the exchange was not ready to approve cryptocurrency listings.

Magda Wierzycka interview

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South African Bitcoin ETF torpedoed