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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 5th to 12th July 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

African Union

Single digital currency discussed in Transform Africa summit: The latest summit Transform Africa once again discussed the idea of a single African digital currency, according to CNBC Africa.

This year’s event in Kigali attracted political, economic and industry leaders from across the continent and many topics were in discussion. However, much of the conversation revolved around the use of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and a possible African economic union that would enhance connectivity.

South Africa

South Africans still believe in crypto despite major price decline: According to a recent survey by Savings and Investment Monitor 2018, many South Africans interested in cryptocurrencies still believe that investing in cryptocurrencies will reap benefits and profits for them.

The report involved more than 1,000 face-to-face interactions lasting one month from 26 April to 26 May 2018. While a majority of the respondents were not knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies, the 4% who knew about the cryptocurrency space were optimistic about the future growth of the cryptocurrency space.

More than 71% of the respondents said that it was possible to make money from cryptocurrencies despite major price tanks since the start of the calendar year.

Bitcoin ransom rumors arise in kidnapping case: Rumors regarding cryptocurrency-based ransom have started circulating around a recent kidnapping in Cape Town according to latest reports from local TV sources.

News24 reported that a local man Liyaqat Parker was kidnapped from his business in Parow and rumors have started circulating in the neighborhood that there was a cryptocurrency-based ransom involved. The police have declined to comment on the matter.

A spokesperson for the Cape Town Police said:

“This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Please bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law.”

Nigeria

Entrepreneurs choosing crypto over national currency: An increasing number of Nigerian entrepreneurs are using cryptocurrencies rather than the national currency Naira.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly drawing battle lines with local fiat currencies in a battle for relevance as they present P2P transactions, lower fees, an alternative to inflation and fast transaction times. The Naira has been losing its value for some time just like many other local currencies across the continent. To offset this huge inflation issue, Nigerians are increasingly turning towards cryptocurrencies as a safer bet. Retailers, importers and engineers are using cryptocurrencies to make and receive payments.

Dash continues expansion in Nigeria: Use of cryptocurrency Dash is growing rapidly in Nigeria. Dash Africa’s mobile refill project called Bitrefill.com has released mobile data showing that an increasing number of Nigerian users are using cryptocurrencies like Dash to buy mobile minutes across the country.

Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, was obviously the forerunner in the stats as the Dash’s service got 111 orders from 59 unique numbers with a total purchase of over EUR 191. Nigeria had even bigger purchase limits than Germany. Dash is now working to increase the wider appeal of cryptocurrencies and is offering a 10% discount if users use the Dash-based service.

Zimbabwe

Reserve bank studying blockchain implementation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is pursuing its acquired interest in blockchain technology according to local media outlet NewsDay.

The current RBZ governor John Mangudya said that the bank is looking to embrace the technology citing similar moves by banks in China, US, UK and South Africa who have been studying blockchain technology and its uses.

He said:

“I did not say cryptocurrencies because it is lower than blockchain. Blockchain encompasses all the cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin… and we are saying we are putting in motion studies, ways and means of investigating that blockchain technology.”

Israel

Crypto platform hacked, resulting in $24 million losses: Bancor, an Israeli crypto company, saw the biggest hack in the past several weeks as more than USD 23.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from its wallets.

The combined Swiss-Israeli company raised over USD 150 million last year in an ICO and the services it was offering included a built-in exchange service. The company said in a statement that “a wallet used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised”.

Bancor has subsequently frozen its native BNT token and is communicating with a number of exchanges to stop the liquidation of the stolen coins.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 22nd to 28th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

Senegal

Akon to launch own crypto: Senegalese-American singer Akon has announced that he is creating a new cryptocurrency called “Akoin” and it will serve as the native currency for a yet-to-be-developed city in the country named Akon Crypto City.

The singer is not the first celebrity to float the idea of a personal cryptocurrency as Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquaio and even footballer Michael Owen have also announced crypto projects and initial coin offerings.

The currency will be a part of the “Akoin ecosystem” that will empower youth all over the world according to Akoin sources. It will through a “suite of blockchain-powered apps” allow young entrepreneurs to “buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency right from their smartphone”.

Akon is massively popular in Africa and he has had success with public projects before, notably Akon Lighting Africa that provides access to electricity in the continent. It has gone on to install 100,000 solar street lights in over 480 rural communities in 15 different African countries. But there are considerable question marks regarding the new cryptocurrency.

South Africa

First Bitcoin ATM installed in South Africa: South Africans can now utilize their first ever cryptocurrency ATM in the country as the first machine was set up in Johannesburg.

South Africa follows Zimbabwe and Djibouti as only the third African country to have a Bitcoin ATM. The machine was installed by Northwood Spar, one of the biggest names in the Bitcoin ATM business. According to Northwood Spar General Manager George Neophytou:

“It is all awfully exciting. It will take away much the frustration of buying and selling cryptocurrency, and hopefully help make cryptocurrencies mainstream.”

According to latest figures, as many as 300,000 people are involved in cryptocurrencies in the country.

Blockchain company aims to provide internet solutions for entire continent: Blockchain technology is being used for wide-ranging innovations in African countries. Recently, BlockMesh, a South African crypto startup, is starting an ambitious project to provide free mobile data to people across the continent.

Data rates are extremely high in South Africa and the region overall and BlockMesh aims to increase connectivity throughout the land for free.

“We harness the power of the Internet of Things to provide interpersonal communication which isn’t just free to use, but actually rewards users in cryptocurrency to use it. Our network will be made up of the excess bandwidth that exists across the world,” said Bjorn Guido, BlockMesh founder.

BlockMesh is also working on a telecommunications system that works outside the range of a normal cellular tower system.

Nigeria

Bitcoin seen as a way to hedge against Naira: The Nigerian public and entrepreneurs are turning to Bitcoin as a way to hedge against the native fiat currency Naira.

Nigeria is often a victim of wild monetary devaluations that cause significant problems for the public. Bitcoin serves as a useful hedge against the local currency. Nigerian entrepreneurs, shopkeepers and other professionals are now dealing a lot in cryptocurrencies to avoid inflation.

The local Naira fell as much as 15% last year and businesses start to struggle when the native currency becomes so inflated. Normal bank fees are also increasing a lot in the country and once again Bitcoin proves a safer alternative.

Zimbabwe

Dash CEO reveals crypto changing lives in Zimbabwe: Dash, a popular cryptocurrency that excels in privacy is working to introduce efficient money transfer systems in Zimbabwe.

Dash is a coin that offers fast transactions under one second and fees are only a few cents per transaction which is much better than the 30 minute time for Bitcoin transactions and higher fees involved. In Zimbabwe, a Dash-powered money transfer system called Kuvacash is in place that is the country’s first P2P localized digital currency payment system. It enables users to transfer cash with just a mobile number and that makes things a lot easier for traders and buyers.

A mistrust of the centralized financial system and crushing hyperinflation is said to be the reason behind the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in the country.

Kenya

Indigenous crypto ATM launched: Kenya has launched its own indigenous cryptocurrency ATM. The ATM was developed by Kenyan startup BitClub and it can dispense cash and cryptocurrencies. The ATM is the fourth official bitcoin ATM in the continent after Djibouti, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Middle East

Israel

Crypto-related crimes set to increase in 2018: An Israeli cyber expert has said that cryptocurrency-related crimes will exceed all other cyber attacks in the near future, according to news from Times of Israel.

The expert named Lotem Finkelstein from Check Point Software Technologies said, “Not a day goes by without our hearing about a new ICO scam or mining attack.”

Finkelstein also said that blockchain was suffering reputational damage because of it being associated with ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

United Arab Emirates

ADGM to regulate crypto and digital assets: UAE-based Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the country’s financial hub, has said that it is launching a new framework to regulate the crypto assets in the country according to an announcement last Monday.

The framework is designed to address the “full range of risks associated with crypto asset activities, including risks relating to money laundering and financial crime, consumer protection, technology governance, custody and exchange operations”.

The move comes after an extensive public consultation by the country’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 8th to 14th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

African Union

Africa to become next frontier for crypto: Interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is increasing in Africa as the sprawling continent continues to advance in the new tech according to latest reports fueling the notion that the continent could become the next frontier in the development of the crypto world.

High inflation figures and rampant exploitation by big companies are some of the factors that will actually help the development of blockchain technology in the continent to bring social justice, transparency and better utilization of resources.

According to gobitcoin.io, the main countries where the blockchain revolution is happening include Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Many of these countries have high inflation rates, thus encouraging the use of cryptocurrencies.

DR Congo

Cobalt mining to be accountable, less controversial through blockchain: According to latest reports from DR Congo, blockchain startup Dorae is working to trace various raw materials produced in the country including cobalt, to hold miners accountable.

Cobalt mining is often seen as one of the most controversial businesses in a country dogged by controversies involving child labor and corruption. According to the Dorae initiative:

“Through adoption of the Dorae system, government and industry can combat issues such as child labor, regional conflict and environmental abuse, as well as increasing tax compliance and recalibrating the economics of supply chains to reward producers observing proper standards.”

Kenya

Blockchain tech to help verify Kenya’s land records: Kenya’s problematic and disputed land management process is a constant headache for the public but blockchain-based startup LayBy is working on using the incorruptible nature of the blockchain to verify land transactions and help create a fraud-proof land registry.

According to the company’s official statement: “The platform, which shall be accessed using a special digital utility key called the Harambee token, will transform the way we buy and sell real estate by doing away with the hidden costs, unnecessary intermediaries, and reduce transaction time significantly. It will enhance data security and eliminate manual errors and duplication of verification processes.”

LayBy has offices in other parts of the world and is working to create transparent land records across the world.

South Africa

70% of crypto investors under age of 30: More than 70% of cryptocurrency investors in South Africa are below the age of 30, according to latest findings by Paxful, an African cryptocurrency marketplace.

With over SAR 500 million worth of monthly transactions happening in the cryptocurrency exchange on Paxful alone, the future of cryptocurrencies in bright in the country but the demographics point to a more younger investor audience, of which 65% are male.

The main driving force behind the South Africans’ entry into cryptocurrency investment includes low fees, secure and speedy transactions, relative stability and international acceptance of the currency.

Women crypto owners rising: Women cryptocurrency owners are increasing in numbers, according to recent findings by AltcoinTrader, a leading crypto exchange operating in the country.

While there is still a huge disparity in the investor statistics as men dominate the field, women are catching up, the survey concludes. The age group that is the most interested in investing in the cryptocurrency is between 18-40 years. Women are becoming more involved in cryptocurrencies because of a safer and more secure investment opportunity for them.

Nigeria

Small businesses to leverage Bitcoin and blockchain: Bitcoin is gaining popularity in the biggest African economy, such that many small and medium enterprises are looking to get into the space, according to latest reports from Nigeria.

While only one in ten small-scale proprietors currently say that they use cryptocurrency payments, the demand is increasing as cryptocurrencies remove geographical, cultural and ethnic borders.

Zimbabwe

Central bank to appeal overturning of crypto ban: In response to the country’s top court overturning a sweeping crypto ban, the central bank is re-engaging in the regulatory tussle.

The bank is arguing that banning currencies and exchanges from operating falls under its jurisdiction and, therefore, the ban was lawful and should be upheld. The tussle between the bank and the cryptocurrency exchanges will determine the future legal outlook for cryptocurrencies in the African nation.

Middle East

Israel

Israeli firm seeking permission to pay employees in Bitcoin: An Israeli firm Spot.IM is asking to pay its employees in Bitcoin, according to Israeli paper Calcalist.

While there is increased regulatory confusion and uncertainty regarding the future of cryptocurrencies in the country, the company is aiming to break the cryptocurrency ice in the country by engaging more and more people in the cryptocurrency debate.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Africa

African Union

Africa has potential to become next frontier in crypto: According to a report by Economist Nigeria, Africa is in line to become the next cryptocurrency hub in the world. Economists believe that the technology has the ability to cause disruption in fintech circles because it is not bound by geography and records transactions in real time.

African countries with especially high inflation rates are among the places where cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular as they have the ability to combat the crushing inflation despite being volatile themselves.

According to Tech journalist Mukesh Sharma, “Africa is rarely mentioned among the largest markets for cryptocurrency, but it may be set to steal a march over other markets.”

Mobile phone users that will increase to around 725 million subscribers by 2020 will present more and opportunities for cryptocurrencies to succeed. African governments themselves are in favor of blockchain technology as it will attract vital foreign investment and innovative development in the region. More than 15 cryptocurrency startups have taken root in the continent since the year’s start too. Mining, trading and ICOs are becoming more and more popular as well.

Zimbabwe

High Court reverses crypto ban: In a surprise move, the central bank of Zimbabwe lost its case against banning cryptocurrency exchange trading as the local high court ruled in favor of exchange Golix that filed the application, according to latest reports.

What’s surprising is that the Central Bank’s legal team failed to show up in court and thus the court had no choice but to award the case to Golix. The move was welcomed in Zimbabwe as many people there are now investing in cryptocurrencies to elude the hyperinflation that is rampant in the country. The Reserve Bank is already one of the least popular government institutions in the country.

No one from the central bank was available for comment.

Egypt

Egyptian Grand Mufti against Bitcoin: According to latest reports from Egypt, the Grand Mufti has declared that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are against the principles of Islamic currency. The move comes after the mufti traded barbs with the imam of a local UK mosque that started accepting cryptocurrency donations.

The issue of Bitcoin is not yet resolved by the Muslim clergy but now more and more people are open to the idea of cryptocurrencies and their usefulness.

South Africa

Central Bank developing blockchain-based internal tokens payment: The South African Central Bank (SARB) is working on a proof-of-concept based interbank payment system that uses an Ethereum-based fiat token, according to latest reports from Cointelegraph.

The project Khokha as it is called has been entailed in the latest report by SARB. It says:

“The aim is to build a proof-of-concept (PoC) wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a South African Rand token on distributed ledger technology (DLT), while also investigating interconnected issues such as the platform’s scalability, resilience, confidentiality, and finality.”

Blockchain startup ConsenSys has joined in with seven partnering banks to form a trial team for the new blockchain payment system. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc (PwC) has also joined in as a support partner.

Crypto miners may be targeting South African computers: South African computer users could be the latest victims of crypto jacking according to latest reports of African newspaper The New Age that used visiting computers’ computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

A shady code was unveiled by a tech-savvy visitor to the website who noticed that his system slowed down a lot upon visiting the website. Upon investigation, it was found that a crypto mining script had been inserted into the website’s code to mine Monero, a popular cryptocurrency focused on privacy.

The newspaper has denied adding the code and could face investigation.

Uganda

President promotes blockchain technology: President of Uganda Yoweria Kugata Museveni has made encouraging statements regarding the future development of blockchain technology. He made the remarks at the first Africa Blockchain Conference held in Kampala, Uganda this week.

President Museveni welcomed the technology to increase transparency in the monetary system of Africa and the world. He spoke at length about how businesses had become used to “secrets and deceit” and that blockchain provided a solution. He said he strongly believed that blockchain technology could streamline the goods and services across his country but also cautioned against complete breakdown of current infrastructure.

The Middle East

Israel

8 Israelis arrested in Philippines for crypto scam: Eight Israelis and 480 local Filipino residents have been arrested in a possible Bitcoin scam in the Philippines, according to latest reports from the Pacific nation. The group was reportedly involved in fraudulent activities amounting to millions of dollars.

The local police undertook these raids following tip-offs by people within the crypto community. According to the police, the Israelis were involved in supervision of the scam and they had defrauded citizens of New Zealand, Russia, Australia and South Africa who thought they were investing in cryptocurrencies.

Public outraged by crypto regulation crisis: A regulatory impasse is creating problems in Israel according to latest reports coming from the Middle Eastern country. The country is facing protests from the crypto community that claim they have been promised legislation.

Due to the said delay in regulating the space, the individuals and businesses operating in the country will continue to face massive issues in cashing out cryptocurrency deposits from local banks. The government cited money laundering fears as the reason behind the delay in the key legislation and has so far failed to make a breakthrough.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 25th to 31st May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Nigeria

Nigerian diaspora considering Bitcoin for sending remittances: The Nigerian diaspora around the world is using Bitcoin to send remittance money in more and more cases, according to latest reports from the African nation. Nigerians sent a staggering amount of USD 22 billion in remittances back to the country and Bitcoin is now being increasingly seen as a viable alternative to the expensive SWIFT transfer.

Requiring no bank account or previous history, many blockchain startups have now started in the country to address this issue and ensure flawless remittance transfers from around the world irrespective of location.

Blockchain conference by local blockchain group organized in Lagos: A local blockchain user group has successfully organized a blockchain conference in the capital city of Lagos. The conference was a step to make the Nigerians realize the immense potential of cryptocurrencies in the present and future.

According to Chimezie Chuta, founder of the user group, “Blockchain technology will transform our lives, governments. And how we run organizations, structure them and interact with people across the world.”

South Africa

$14.5 billion investment firm Sygnia launches crypto exchange: A big South African Investment firm has launched its own cryptocurrency exchange according to latest reports coming from the African country. Sygnia Asset Management, a big investment firm worth SAR 180 billion (USD 14.5 billion) has announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange this year according to BusinessTech.

CEO of Sygnia was of the opinion:

“The cryptocurrency market is evolving at a rapid pace internationally and domestically, and is attracting both domestic and international flows. With its fintech focus, Sygnia is well-positioned to become the first major financial services institution to embrace cryptocurrencies and to offer investors a secure trading and execution platform backed by an international infrastructure, well-designed custody and integration with standard savings products.”

Crypto scam leaves thousands of investors defrauded: Defunct South South African cryptocurrency scam Bitcaw Trading Company (BTC) is now under investigation by the South African authorities.

Several investors complained to the authorities that they invested in a fraudulent scheme that turned out to be Bitcaw. Bitcaw operators conned tens of millions of dollars from the investors.

Central bank terms crypto “cyber-tokens” and not currency: In a recent move this week, the South African central bank has termed cryptocurrencies “cyber tokens” and not currencies according to latest reports from Bloomberg.

Francois Groepe, the deputy head of the Reserve Bank 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’.”

Zimbabwe

Court lifts ban on crypto by national bank: Latest news emerging from Zimbabwe states that the country’s Harare High court has lifted a ban on cryptocurrencies operating in the country following last week’s move by the state bank.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had earlier placed a blanket ban on banks and other financial institutions on cryptocurrency trading. The move was challenged in the court by Golix, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the country and the verdict came in the exchange’s favor.

Despite the ban being overturned in court, the restoration of the accounts of the cryptocurrency exchange will take some time following finalization of regulatory issues by the government.

Middle East

Israel

Crypto regulation delayed: The Israeli government has postponed regulation on the cryptocurrency market.

The government is looking for increased discussions on the topic with the public but the move also leaves blockchain startups practically stuck in limbo with no legal cover.

United Arab Emirates

50% of fiat banking to shift to blockchain: According to latest reports from the Middle East, the government of the UAE is going to shift over 50% of banking operations to blockchain-based systems by 2021.

According to the ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Muhammad Al Maktoum, the move will save the country USD 3 billion a year and will bring revolutionary changes to the country’s banking system.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 11th to 17th May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

South Africa

47% of South Africans plan to invest in crypto: South Africa is seen as one of the most progressive countries in the continent when it comes to cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, and a recent survey confirms that more than 47% of South Africans aim to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at some point in the future.

MyBroadband 2018 Cryptocurrency Survey was completed back in April and shows that more and more South Africans got into cryptocurrency trading. Many invested by purchasing them directly or through mining rigs set up around the country.

According to the survey:

“Of the survey respondents who do not own or who have never owned cryptocurrency, almost 50% said they plan to invest in an aspect of cryptocurrency or crypto mining in 2018.”

First Bitcoin ATM opens: The first Bitcoin ATM in South Africa was recently opened this week in North Spar, Johannesburg. The machine was imported from Portugal and is capable of processing different kinds of cryptocurrencies including major tokens like Ethereum and Bitcoin.

According to the GM of Northwood Spar George Neophytou: “Lots of people in South Africa are also in the cryptocurrency space and lots of South Africans are watching it. However, not all individuals have access to it.”

The Bitcoin ATM will help bringing in cryptocurrency outreach and help people who do not have a bank account according to company sources.

Kenya

Special unit proposed for handling ICOs and crypto: The Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) based in the capital Nairobi has tasked the regulators to create a special unit for monitoring of cryptocurrency related issues in the country. The unit will include experts from Central Bank of Canada and CMA itself, according to Standard Digital.

CMA chief Paul Muthaura said:

“There is need for regulators to devise a common approach towards handling issues revolving around cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A joint workgroup by financial sector regulators could be put in place to tackle issues around cryptocurrencies and ICOs.”

ICOs are already banned but like many other governments, Kenya is interested in blockchain technology and wants to”embrace it cautiously”.

Nigeria

Blockchain technology’s high potential in Nigeria: Nigeria is the biggest African economy and one of the most diverse countries and that is proving to be a fertile ground for the propagation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the resource-rich country.

Numerous blockchain companies including Bitpesa and Bitland are becoming household names in the cryptocurrency scene with useful applications in sectors like healthcare and education. Blockchain conferences are a common sight and Nigeria had the largest one up to date in Africa.

According to Nigerian innovators like Alex Alieja, the CEO of Cryptoneurng:

“I believe that blockchain can flip the charts in terms of infrastructural development for Nigeria and the African economy, if the government should embrace the blockchain technology the potential are enormous and bring numerous benefits.”

Zimbabwe

Government bans cryptocurrency trading: Zimbabwe is in the midst of an economic turmoil with triple digit inflation ruining the country. The hardships are forcing the government to take extreme stances on the things they believe are creating problems for the government. According to local sources, the Zimbabwean government has issued instructions to stop all partnerships, relationships, associations and trading with cryptocurrencies with immediate effect.

The institutions, however, have been given a deadline of 60 days to cut off ties with cryptocurrencies and liquidate the accounts and their balances. The registrar of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Norman Mataruka said:

“As monetary authorities, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is the custodian of public trust and has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of payment systems… Any person who buys, sells, or otherwise transacts in cryptocurrencies, whether online, or otherwise, does so at their own risk and will have no recourse to the Reserve Bank or to any regulatory authority in the country.”

Mataruka also singled out cryptocurrency exchanges and warned people against using them because of their unregulated nature. Bitcoin is already being traded at a higher rate due to the rampant inflation in the country. The latest move is likely to drive the price even higher.

Israel

Israeli watchdog tells PM he cannot buy cryptocurrencies: State Financial watchdog Yosef Shapira has issued a guideline which categorically asks the Israeli PM and his cabinet to not buy cryptocurrencies because of their de-regulated nature. It also “raises the concerns regarding the integrity of government officials so the PM, ministers and the deputy ministers should avoid using it”, according to the statement by the regulator.

Israeli banks have largely been reluctant in handling cryptocurrency profits in the country.

UAE

Dubai becoming leader of blockchain development in Middle East: Dubai is swiftly growing in stature and exposure to become the blockchain hub in the region. The Dubai-based cryptocurrency Zilliqa became only the 28th cryptocurrency to have more than USD 1 billion valuation at one point and its rise is likely to continue in the near future.

Blockchain-based marketplaces, real estate portals and other platforms are being pursued in the country in addition to trading. The so-called Tourism Vision 2020 of Dubai will see it secure more than 20 million visitors and new businesses coming in. Blockchain Development showcases Dubai’s desire to harness the technology to facilitate its rapid development.

 

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 4th to 10th May 2018

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

African Union

Solar power could push blockchain forward in Africa: Africa receives the most sunlight in all of the large land masses and in the 2018 Blockchain convention in South Africa, the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the continent was heavily discussed. Africa is seen by many as an emerging blockchain center, with rapidly developing markets in DLT in Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria and Kenya.

South Africa

How much money have South Africans made or lost in crypto? According to a recent survey by MyBroadband 2018, Bitcoin was the currency of choice for making the biggest profits and incurring the biggest losses in South Africa. The survey included 1244 broadband readers in April and shows the inclination of the South African tech-savvy community towards cryptocurrencies.

The survey found that 78% of respondents have owned cryptocurrency at one point or are owning them right now. 57% have made a profit for themselves but a large percentage made SAR 50,000 or less, so none were big profiteers from the market, although individual losses were not more than SAR 50,000 either.

Bitcoin was the most popular cryptocurrency and had a 50% share in the market with Ethereum taking the second place.

Rwanda

Bitcoin founder backs unified African crypto: One of Bitcoin’s original founders, Australian computer scientist Dr Craig Wright, once rumored to be Satoshi Nakamoto himself, addressed a Bitcoin conference called Transform Africa in Kigali, Rwanda this week.

He presented a simple Powerpoint presentation titled ‘Bitcoin Cash: The Crypotocurrency and Blockchain for Africa‘ and discussed the future of the continent in the Blockchain economy.

The idea of a unified African cryptocurrency has been in the pipeline for some time. Wright believes that blockchain and P2P trade is the answer to Africa’s issues with the economy as there is not even a need to use the internet as even SMS can be used effectively for the purpose.

Nigeria

Country’s first blockchain tech incubator: P2P cryptocurrency trading company Paxful has announced that it is opening a major incubator in Lagos, Nigeria to help streamline operations.

The company chose Nigeria because of demographics. The country has the highest numbers of Paxful users in the region.

Kenya

Blockchain to settle real estate sale/purchase: Land ownership is one of the biggest problems in Kenya today despite the technology and computerization. The country still suffers from double ownership of land issues due to governmental corruption. To fight this problem, the Kenyan minister of information Joseph Mucheru has formed a team to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to put an end to the land theft cases.

Mucheru said in a BBC interview:

“We missed the internet wave, caught up with mobile technology… blockchain is the next wave – and we must be part of it.”

Ethiopia

Ethereum co-founder launches coffee project: Ethereum co-founder and Cardano chief Charles Hoskinson has recently launched a new decentralized coffee project in Ethiopia in a partnership with the country’s ministry of science and technology.

Coffee is an integral part of the economy of the country with 60% foreign income coming from the sale of the brown caffeinated drink.

Israel

Bitcoin mining company sues bank for closing account: Israeli Bitcoin mining company Israminers has registered a lawsuit against Union Bank of Israel, the country’s sixth largest fiat bank for a unilateral decision of not accepting funds from Bitcoin exchanges after months of operations.

According to the mining group’s lawyer Guy Penn:

“Banks in Israel are currently refusing services to companies that operate in the crypto field, without even checking or understanding their business activity. The banks’ overwhelming refusal leaves us with no choice but to take our case to the courts of law, otherwise the entire Israeli crypto field will have to relocate its business model abroad.”

Palestine

Palestine mulling over crypto launch: In order to be economically independent, Palestinian authorities are considering launching their own cryptocurrency to break away from the fiscal control of Israel.

According to a recent report in Reuters, the Palestinian Monetary Authority may call the new currency Palestinian pound and it will have the currency in use in the next five years.

 

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