South African Bitcoin Regulation Needs Improvement Says Civic CEO Vinny Lingham


South Africa is lagging behind as far as the regulation of bitcoin is concerned, says the country’s Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Vinny Lingham.

Vinnie Lingham is Civic’s Chief Executive, a company that stores personal information on mobile phones and other electronic devices securely through the use of bitcoin and cryptographic keys. He is also an outspoken bitcoin advocate.

Speaking to Ventureburn, Vinny said that Africa’s leading economy is trailing other countries in regulating cryptocurrency. According to him, South African authorities should follow the footsteps of other countries in the world by issuing ‘guidance’ on the use of digital currency.

Japan had just removed taxes on bitcoin yesterday. Singapore’s regulating it more, Australia, etc. as well. All these countries in the world are very progressive on cryptocurrencies […],” he said.

He added that the Reserve Bank of South Africa should put in place a few caps and consider treating digital currency as a form of foreign exchange.

We just need regulators to focus on making sure they understand what is going on and how the rest of the world is responding, as opposed to saying ‘well it does not conform to our view of the world and therefore we shouldn’t do anything about it’,” Lingham stated.

Civic’s Token Sale

Linghams’ Civic held its first ICO (Initial Coin Offering)  between 20th and 28th June 2017. He disclosed that the company succeeded in selling tens of thousands of tokens to raise about $33 million. In addition, he explained Civic’s endeavour was a token sale as opposed to an ICO saying, “an ICO is more when you issue a crypto coin. We did a token which sat just at the back of a bitcoin blockchain.”

Civic has a supply of one billion tokens and it sold a third (about 333 million) in the June offer. The company intends to give away another third to interested businesses and users while the last third will remain in Civic’s proprietorship. To ensure that the network remains safe from abuse from bitcoin holders, none of the investees can own more than one percent. The sale’s proceeds will be held as revenue with auditing of the final figures scheduled to happen later.

Future Plans

Following the success of the token sale, Civic now aims at coming up with a marketplace that can connect companies with regard to trust systems and secure data sharing.

For example, Lingham says, banks can validate a user’s information when creating an account at a telco via a user’s mobile phone. Then, the telco can make the work easy by accepting the information that the bank provides. This is quicker than using the countries current verification bodies, Fica or Rica, for cellphone and financial services respectively. Once a user has verified his identity with one body, the data can be used in other instances.

This system is beneficial to all partners involved as the process is quick and simple for users as well as offers potential profits for service providers if they monetise data transferred to them.

Civic’s services are available across the world, and there is a number of organisations signing up for the marketplace. Both large and small businesses are embracing the idea with about 100,000 end-users already in the network. The company plans to make a full report of the major clients publicly available in a week’s time.

Tags : bitcoinregulationssouth africa
Kinyua Njeri

The author Kinyua Njeri

Kinyua is a Kenyan freelance writer who focuses on technology. Kinyua’s motto is ‘Research deeply, Test thoroughly, and Write simply’. His work has appeared on Cyberogism,, and in The Nairobi Times.