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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 24th to 30th March, 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

African Union

Crypto in Africa: Adoption in Medical, Education, Trading Industries: Africa has been making considerable strides in adopting crypto technology and implementing innovations in the financial markets. Prime examples of the intent would be Zimbabwe’s crypto school that will be launched by SUNFund, a local incubator.

In that same vein of thought, IBM announced that it is working in its lab in Haifa to utilise blockchain system and stem the flow of counterfeit medicines. South Africa is also not going to be left behind, as a SA based crypto exchange’s Hybrid Stock Exchange (HYBSE) platform went live last week. The platform is part of the Data Interchange Module (DIM) and will offer an online marketplace for global issuers and users to provide tradable tokenised equity.

Community-Led Pan-African Blockchain Standards Org Publishes Draft ICO Guidelines: The African Digital Asset Framework (ADAF) has just published its first version of guidance for initial coin offerings (ICO) on 25 March.  

ADAF is a project that looks to establish compliance-focused, cross-border blockchain standards for Africa, and it just has revealed its first guideline in an official blog post titled “Consumer Protection Guidelines on Token Generation Events, version 0.1.” The document was created by an open source community comprising of 17 companies and aims to generate set of standards for consumers, business owners, and policymakers to regulate evaluation or participation in token generation events for utility-token based ecosystems.

Israel

Malware Affects an Israeli Cryptocurrency Company: The cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Network’s research division, Unit 42, has recently published a report stating how it has detected a serious malware that has been targeting two Israeli cryptocurrency trading companies. Known as “Cardinal RAT malware” or Remote Access Trojan, it was first discovered in 2017 which allows full remote control of the device, collects the target data and then wipes itself from the device.

Palo Alto also revealed that this Trojan had repeatedly targeted Israel’s fintech and cryptocurrency trading firms since 2017 which includes at least two large scale attacks. The report also adds that the attacker can access the victim’s personal data, clean cookies capture screenshots, execute commands, retrieve passwords, and even update settings.

Turkey

Turkey Is Leading Europe in Cryptocurrency Possession: Although the Turkish Lira seems to be going downhill, the economy is apparently not entirely bust as the country appears to transition and focus on building crypto assets instead.  In a survey conducted by ING Bank, Turkey had the highest percentage of individuals who own cryptocurrencies, with a total of 18%.

The second country on the list was Romania with 12%, and then came Poland with 11% and Spain with 10% respectively. Apart from the impressive numbers by Turkey, the European continent also showed significant improvement as it recorded a 9% increase in total demand.

UAE

Crypto in the UAE Booms, Generates Over USD 210 Million in Investments in January and February ICOs: According to a recent report, the United Arab Emirates stands tall as the number one country in terms of total capital generated by Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Only in the first two months of 2019, UAE successfully raised a baffling sum of USD 210 million. The next in the list are the United Kingdom and Singapore, but they stand nowhere even close to UAE.  

In January 2019, UAE successfully raised USD 142 million, a whopping 41% of all funds raised worldwide for the month. Interestingly, UAE’S figure was raised by only one ICO, the Genesis Crypto Blockchain Investment Bank, that aims to establish a fully regulated bank that is also accommodative of cryptocurrencies. Other countries on the top 10 list include Canada, Netherlands, Latvia, Belize, Cayman Islands, and Australia.

Iran

Iran Turns to Crypto to Enable Easier Spending by Tourists: Amidst the latest wave of sanctions by the US, the Iranian rial has plummeted to a record low in several decades, losing about 60% of its total value. But while the Iranian economy grapples with the challenges, the government has been looking to alleviate the crisis with the help of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies and has launched many high profile projects.

For instance, the Iranian tourism sector led by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (CHTO) has been encouraging tourists to use cryptocurrency when possible. Similarly, the Iranian Electronic Tourism Association has announced they are even discussing a proposal to create a state-run digital currency for the tourism sector.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 24th to 30th March, 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 3rd to 9th March, 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Bank in South Africa Develops a New Blockchain Financial System: In a bid to reduce economic trade and foreign exchange problems, South Africa’s Standard Bank has developed a private blockchain and permission blockchain system which will be launched on behalf of its corporate clients. Standard Bank and its partner in Uganda, Static Ban, will use the system along with 3rd parties directly involved with the banks.

The system aims to accelerate settlement processing as well as increase transparency of transactions since the involved parties will be able to view the documents in real time. The system is built using the Hyperledger Fabric, and will also be connected to SASB’s foreign currency-trading app, Shyft. The solution is projected to go live in the second half of 2019.

Bahrain

Bahrain Pressure Could Legalize Crypto Market in India: Due to the negative legislations by Reserve Bank of India on crypto businesses, Indian Bitcoin dealers have been using only peer-to-peer transfers to convert cryptocurrencies. But pressure from other market competitors, in particular from Bahrain whose recent invitation to Indian crypto companies to relocate to their country might take away investment worth billions of dollars out of India, forcing the country to rethink its policies.

Bahrain completed its regulatory draft for cryptocurrencies two months ago and now has also finished the legislation. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has also been pushing for the optimal ecosystem to encourage crypto growth and innovation, and initiatives like open banking, crypto asset trade regulation, regulation on robo advisory, and streamlined remittance collection make Bahrain a very enticing prospect.

UAE

UAE Bullish for Crypto, Records USD 210M Investment in January and February 2019: While ICOs have generally been going down across the globe, UAE shows no signs of stopping as it was the #1 country in terms of funds raised by ICOs. This amounted to a whopping USD 210M in January and February 2019 alone, overtaking Singapore and the UK.

The UAE raised USD 42M in January 2019, which is about 41% of ICOs’ amount worldwide. And they were well ahead of the second-best Estonia, who raised over USD 64M. The total amount raised was about USD 347M, with the top 5 countries constituting about 63% of the funds. UAE’s success can be attributed to a single ICO — the Genesis Crypto Blockchain Investment Bank — which alone raised over USD 142M.

Turkey

Turkish Telecom Giant Turkcell Introduces Blockchain ID Management Product: Turkcell, an Istanbul-based telecommunication services provider, has announced the launch of a blockchain-based service for ID management which offers the users control over their personal information while ensuring privacy under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

The data will be stored on blockchain and thus will eliminate any additional identity verification requirements. The solution also includes a blockchain-based donation collection option that leverages the ID management tool to verify the donation eligibility for people in need.

Israel

Israel Securities Authority Recommends Crypto Regulation: Israel Securities Authority (ISA) wants to move the crypto business operations forward with regulations, as revealed in its final report on the cryptocurrency industry.

The report includes the findings of the crypto regulatory committee, which recommends implementing security laws on the sector concerning issuance and trading of the cryptocurrencies. The committee also claimed that this supervision would help in the progress of cryptocurrency, courtesy the significant connection between the regulator and the industry.

Israeli Company Partners With the Marshall Islands to Launch a Digital Currency: The Marshall Islands, a small nation with over 55000 population, is preparing to release their own digital currency this year, called “SOV.”

The development of SOV has been undergoing since 2017 in collaboration with Neema, an Israel-based company. Although an exciting prospect, the officials admitted that a definitive date for the launch couldn’t be given because of many pitfalls in the technological and logistical side of issuing the SOV using blockchain in addition to the concerns of United States financial regulators.

Largest Israeli Blockchain Company Facing Extensive Layoffs: The reverberations of the crypto market crash have also been felt in the Israeli Blockchain market, which has forced the First Digital Assets Group to restructure and sanction massive layoffs.

The changes will involve shutting down of its research company, One Alpha, and the merger of the remaining four companies – Knox, Stamina, Titan, and K1– into one parent company. The group still reiterated their faith in the technology and insisted that they will now be investing in new blockchain solutions with a focus on the liquidity functions of the company.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 3rd to 9th March, 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 23rd February to 2nd March 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Foreign Investment in South Africa’s Crypto Sector Grows: The crypto-sector investment is growing in South Africa as companies in this lucrative industry race to get a share of the pie. Recently, Bittrex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world announced a USD 1.5 million seed funding for a new platform in the country.

VALR, a new exchange attracted the sizeable investment from Bittrex and marks a new trend towards diversification of crypto trading in the country which will attract further investment from around the world.

Kenya

Communities Looking to Crypto for Improved Cash Flow: Small, remote communities in Kenya are now using bitcoin for an improved cash flow experience despite the uncertainty clouding cryptocurrencies.

The East African nation famous for its tea production is expected to increase crypto adoption as it will help solve several chronic cash-related problems rampant due to poor management. Despite regulatory pressures from the government and the Central Bank, the popularity of cashless economy including cryptocurrencies has seen an all-time high in recent months which is evident from the activity on popular platforms like Remitano and LocalBitcoins.com.

Turkey

Turkey Has the Largest Number of Cryptocurrency Owners in Europe: Turkey has become the biggest crypto ownership country in the Middle East and Europe combined. According to a recent survey conducted in the country, almost 18% of all Turks declared that they owned cryptocurrencies. This is the highest rate in all of Europe despite several progressive crypto nations in the continent with much more lenient laws when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

On average, only 9% of the European responders declared that they owned cryptocurrencies. Second most number of cryptocurrency owners is in Romania, another one of the smaller countries while Luxembourg, Belgium, and France only had 4%, 5% and 6% with some of the worst numbers in the continent. The reason behind the high number of cryptocurrency users in Turkey is because of its recent fiscal problems that arose from US sanctions, resulting in the drop of Lira exchange rate by 25% before recovering again. The local cryptocurrency trading volume went up several times in the country in the backdrop of these sanctions as people began buying bitcoin to circumnavigate the effects of Lira inflation.

United Arab Emirates

UAE Firm Denies Accepting Cryptocurrency for Real Estate Deals: Emaar Properties, a real estate tycoon in Dubai that built the Burj Khalifa tower has denied that they are now accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for real estate purchase/development services.

According to a company spokesperson:

“Emaar does not accept payment in digital currency. Emaar only accepts payment in government-issued currency, primarily in U.A.E. dirham and U.S. dollar.”

While the company has refuted cryptocurrency payments, once the sector goes mainstream, it is likely that the bigger companies will be more open to it in the future.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 23rd February to 2nd March 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 16th to 22nd February 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

African Union

Africa May Become a Hub for Cryptocurrencies, Notes Media Report: African nations are positively endorsing crypto sector, claims media report. Even though Africa has the least number of internet users (only 36% having internet access), a number of crypto startups have appeared across the continent recently.

In the previous week, a coffee company based in South Africa declared that it has been using blockchain technology to monitor its coffee supply from Uganda.

Moreover, in order to resolve long-standing disputes related to land registration, Kenya and Rwanda have decided to use blockchain technology. Similarly, in Congo, Ford and IBM signed a contract to track mining of cobalt to avoid human right abuses.

South Africa

South Africa Is Leading Other Countries in Crypto Sector, Says Global Digital Report: South Africa has been ranked as the top country to provide a supportive environment for owning cryptocurrency, noted Global Digital Report.

Although South Africa currently lacks a stringent regulatory framework, it managed to beat leading crypto supportive countries such as Japan, Malta, and Bahrain.

The said report is based on the data collected over a period of six months during 2018. People aged between 16 and 64 were asked to fill survey forms. The report was compiled in collaboration with digital media firms Hootsuite and We Are Social.

Limited Regulations to Be Imposed on Cryptocurrencies Suggest Public Comments on Sarb’s Consultation Paper: On 15 February, public comments on the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) crypto related consultation paper closed.

According to the media reports, several limited regulations on crypto related activities have been proposed in the said paper. However, proposals did not suggest a bank-like licensing process for cryptocurrencies.

SARB maintained that it is looking to regulate the buying and selling of digital assets. Moreover, trading platforms have been advised by the government to track transactions that may be linked to terrorist activities.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Can Support Its Economy by Utilizing Cryptocurrencies, Claims Media Report: Zimbabwe can follow the example of Switzerland to strengthen its economy by turning towards cryptocurrencies, suggests media report.

Last year, Mthuli Ncube, newly appointed Finance minister at that time, claimed that he was considering digital assets as an option to overcome Zimbabwean economic challenges. He appreciated Switzerland central bank’s stance on virtual currencies. Later, he tried to urge the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to invest in the crypto sector. Moreover, he requested RBZ to develop an understanding of blockchain technology.

However, RBZ is not looking to pay any heed to those suggestions at the moment. Meanwhile, neighboring countries such as South Africa are playing a decisive role in blockchain development and strengthening their respective economies.

Turkey

Hackers Used Chat Feature of Pubg for Communication, Claims Turkish Police: Chat feature of an online video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), was utilized by hackers for communication, stated Turkish police investigating a USD 2.5 million crypto hack.

The police conducted raids across eight Istanbul provinces and detained 24 suspects. Out of those 24 people, 22 were referred to the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan. The court ordered the conditional release of 16 suspects while six were arrested. By now, only 10% of the stolen amount (1.35 million lira) has been recovered by the police.

UAE

Sharjah Aims to Implement Blockchain for Issuing Fraud-Free Waste Permits: Sharjah is set to launch blockchain based waste permit portal, reported Emirates News Agency (WAM).

According to the report, the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) will develop a waste permit portal in collaboration with Bee’ah (an environmental, recycling and waste management company).

By utilizing blockchain technology, costs for customers applying for permits within HFZA will be lowered. Moreover, permit-issuing time will be reduced to only a few hours. It is expected that blockchain integration will eliminate fraud risks.

Bahrain

Bahrain’s Central Bank Looking to Launch Sandbox for Crypto Sector: A regulatory sandbox will be launched by Bahrain’s central bank in order to allow crypto firms to operate, reported Bloomberg.

The prospective framework pursued by the bank is still in consultation process. The aim of the sandbox is to allow smooth operations of crypto-related businesses in the country until regulations are finalized. Reportedly, 28 companies have been selected for the sandbox.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 16th to 22nd February 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 9th to 15th February 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

LUNO Agrees With New South African Crypto Regulations: A positive response has been shown by LUNO (crypto platform based in South Africa), towards proposed crypto regulations by the South African government. A consultation paper summarized these new regulations proposed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

It was reported by media that SARB was looking to regulate the crypto sector. In the said paper, SARB has highlighted the benefits and risks of utilizing blockchain technology. Moreover, recommendations for dealing with digital assets are presented as well.

Congo

Blockchain Guidelines Mentioned by Apple in Conflict Minerals Report to SEC: In a report submitted to the US Security Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple maintained that as a part of Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), it is working to formulate blockchain guidelines. Recently, the company had announced that it will obtain Cobalt directly from Congo-based mines, which raised concerned regarding human rights abuses.

However, Apple announced that it is ready to go beyond minimum requirements in order to provide protection to the people in its supply chain. Under RMI, 360 companies including Apple, are now looking to integrate blockchain to make sure that human rights are not violated during mineral sourcing.

Iran

Financial Structure in Iran Is Evolving With Blockchain Integration: In order to lay the groundwork for a new token ecosystem, the Iranian government is aiming at collaboration with blockchain startups. Recently at Tehran’s Electronic Banking and Payments conference, the central bank of Iran announced that it is looking to launch a comprehensive cryptocurrency program.

Moreover, to provide a suitable environment for the launch of the first native Iranian cryptocurrency, private banks have decided to fund a startup.

In addition, it was reported that Kuknos protocol gained the support of Informatics Services Corporation (ISC), which is the central bank’s technology arm.

Four Iranian Banks Looking to Launch Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency: A cryptocurrency which is backed by gold has been developed in Iran, claimed four Iranian banks. This native cryptocurrency is named PayMon. The banks maintained that the main objective of developing digital currency is to tokenize their reserves.

However, the central bank of Iran maintained that cryptocurrencies are still illegal in Iran. Nevertheless, the bank is positive regarding the future of digital assets. The central bank announced that it has decided to support blockchain technology. In the future, crypto-related initial coin offerings, mining, and exchanges will be legalized and regulated.

U.A.E

Finablr and Ripple Agree to Provide Remittance Services to Thailand: Foreign exchange company based in UAE, Finablr has decided to join hands with Ripple in a joint project which will offer cross-border remittances to Thailand. Finablr’s main brands, UAE Exchange and Unimoni, will lead the project. On the other hand, Finablr will sign a contract with one of Thailand’s largest banks; Siam Commercial Bank.

Moreover, the company aims to expand the service to other countries. The Middle East hosts a large number of workers from countries like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Foreign remittances are the backbone of the economy of these countries. According to the World Bank, remittances from UAE to South Asia grew 13.5% in the previous year.

Israel

Whitepaper Does Not Confer Any Legal Binding, Say Lawyers for Israeli Crypto Entrepreneur:  In response to a lawsuit, Moshe Hogeg’s (Israeli crypto entrepreneur) lawyers have maintained that he has not violated any law. In a news, reported by the Times of Israel, the attorney stated that a whitepaper is of descriptive nature only and should not be considered as binding.

The said lawsuit was filed by a Chinese investor Mr. Hu. According to Hu’s claim, he believes that out of $34 million which were raised for STX token, only $5 million were used for its development. He accused Hogeg of utilizing the rest of the funds for investments in other initial coin offerings. However, Hogeg has denied any wrongdoings.

Turkey

24 Suspects Arrested for Involvement in Crypto Firm Hacking, Reports Local Media: In the wake of a 13 million Turkish lira (USD 2.47 million) hack, 24 suspects have been arrested by Turkish police, reported Daily Sabah on 12 February 2019. However, the name of Istanbul-based crypto firm has not been revealed.

The stolen money was transferred directly from the hacked accounts to accounts on other exchanges, noted the city police’s Cybercrime Department. Reportedly, the money was stolen in various digital currencies such as Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC). Moreover, the police found out that suspects were using PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), an online multiplayer battle game, for communication.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 9th to 15th February 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 2-8 February 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Blockchain Companies Respond to New Legislation: In the aftermath of the new proposed crypto legislation by the government of South Africa, companies are now starting to respond to it. The paper titled Consultation Paper on Policy Proposals for Crypto Assets was proposed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) earlier this year and drew mixed reactions from most of the crypto community.

Cryptocurrency platform Luno has come forward and praised the latest initiative by the government especially the part about not placing cryptocurrencies on the Value Added Tax (VAT) list. While other crypto companies and commentators have had mixed reactions, exchanges are breathing a sigh of relief as the taxes are not as high as expected.

DR Congo

Ford and IBM are Working on Blockchain-based Ethical Mining: Car manufacturer Ford and electronics giant IBM are working to source minerals more ethically from African countries including DR Congo. Just like blood diamonds, rare earth metals that have abundant use in electronics are also blamed much for the violence and warlord-like style of governance in some African countries.

Now, attention is being paid to the history of the mined metals including the labour being used in the process and adherence to basic human rights. Ford and IBM, both require huge quantities of these rare earth metals themselves but are now looking to help themselves and other companies procure them ethically with the help of blockchain technology. Every mineral shipment is recorded on the blockchain starting from its origin, processing, all the way up to the product itself. IBM’s Hyperledger DLT will be used for this purpose.

Israel

Sirin Labs CEO Says Whitepapers are not Legally Binding: Amid allegations that he misappropriated funds, Sirin Labs founder Moshe Hogeg has said before a court that whitepapers of Initial Coin Offerings are not legally binding. He also clarified that investors in ICOs have no actual ownership stakes in the company itself.

Hogeg was being sued by a Chinese investor who claimed Hogeg deviated from the whitepaper and was therefore liable to a penalty. The company in question is STOX or STX Technologies Limited. While Hogeg hasn’t been convicted right now, the revelation could make investors more careful about participating in ICOs.

Saudi Arabia/ United Arab Emirates

Cross Border Payments being Tested between Saudi Arabia and UAE: The Saudi Arabian and Emirati central bank task forces are working to create a borderless currency between the two nations. The project is part of a seven-point cooperation plan for strengthening the mutual banking and financial channels.

The joint statement from the two countries read:

“The cross-border digital currency will be strictly targeted for banks at an experimental phase with the aim of better understanding the implications of Blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments. The virtual currency relies on the use of a distributed database between the central banks and the participating banks from both sides. It seeks to safeguard customer interests, set technology standards and assess cybersecurity risks. The project will also determine the impact of a central currency on monetary policies.”

So, for now, the currency will strictly be used for interbank and interdepartmental use only.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 19 to 25 January 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

South Africa Looks to Regulate and De-Anonymize Bitcoin Transactions: As per a recent consultation paper published by the South African Reserve Bank, the government is set to regulate cryptocurrencies in the region while de-anonymizing cryptocurrency transactions. The paper states factors like price volatility, cybercrime attacks, market illiquidity, and fraudulent transactions as risks associated with the cryptocurrency market and thus justifies the new regulations that aim to mould the crypto market into a banking-like structure.

After the implementation, banks will account for cryptocurrencies as crypto “assets” over the last term, which will make it easier for the authorities to enforce protection laws and tax policies.

Nigeria

Nigerians See Value in Cryptocurrencies, Despite Slow Adoption: According to a recent survey by Luno, an online platform for trading cryptocurrencies, the future of the digital currency looks bright despite a sluggish start and adoption in Nigeria. The report elaborates on how Nigeria’s payment landscape is slowly but surely changing, as more and more people rush towards adopting cryptocurrencies.

According to the survey, over 65% of the participants were familiar with the concept of cryptocurrencies, and although 48.09% of the participants admitted not to own any cryptocurrency, they expressed their desire to buy in the future. These heartening numbers, along with the 38% of respondents claiming they already own cryptocurrency, exhibit positive signs for the future of crypto in the country.

Israel

Jerusalem’s High Profile Crypto Owner Sued by Chinese Investor for Alleged Fraud: A Chinese cryptocurrency investor has filed a lawsuit against STX Technologies Limited (STOX) and its owner Moshe Hogeg, worth about NIS 17 million (USD 4.6 million). The lawsuit claims Hogeg swindled and misappropriated millions in cryptocurrency from the company’s investment. It adds that the investor and plaintiff, Zhewen Hu, invested a total of about USD 3.8 million worth of Ethereum in the Stox prediction market platform after being promised in the company’s white paper that if it were to raise $30 million worth of Ethereum, it would invest it back into the development of the prediction market platform.

This would have meant an increase in the value of Stox tokens in secondary markets. The company managed to raise $34 million, but Hogeg only reinvested 14% of that amount, a paltry $5 million, and directed the rest into other ICOs such as Telegram. It also accuses Hogeg of selling his own tokens in Stox before the promised date and thus devaluing the tokens of other investors.

Turkey

Turkey Lends Weight Behind Petro Crypto by Supporting Maduro: The political turmoil in Venezuela has taken a turn for the worst, as the people have erupted on the streets demanding the ousting of current President Nicolas Maduro. But even in these testing times, Maduro has received full support from his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been a long time supporter of the regime.

Turkish President reassured Maduro that his country stands by him after the US, Canada, and Brazil expressed support for opposition leaders Juan Guaidó as head of state. Other than the transport of gold from Venezuelan mines to Turkey for refinement, the backing of Maduro’s regime has increased the legitimacy of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency Petro, which was created by Maduro in a bid to alleviate the economic tumult and circumvent US’ economic sanctions.

Saudi Arabia:

Saudi-UAE Council Explores Blockchain: The cryptocurrency market is up for a proper shake-up, as the executive committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council has recently announced plans to start the development of their own joint cryptocurrency.

The Saudi-Emirati Pilot cryptocurrency is to be used by the banks of both countries to facilitate cross-border payments. The cryptocurrency will also act as a database for both countries’ central banks and other participating banks. Along with protecting consumers and standardizing the usage, it will also observe the risks and effects of the cryptocurrency on monetary policies.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 19 to 25 January 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12th to 18th January 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

South Africa’s Central Bank Proposes Rules for Crypto Companies: South African Reserve Bank (SARB), as it attempts to protect customers and investors from the vulnerabilities in the current system, has issued new regulations which compel crypto exchanges and wallet services to register with regulators.

Amid the concerns that the regulatory measures might suffocate the market, the central bank insisted they will be “walking a middle line … to attain only limited regulation.” The changes are expected to start with a registration scheme for crypto asset service providers, followed by a review of the existing laws on assets to include crypto assets, and finally the creation of a regulatory body to implement the decisions.

South Africa’s ANC Election Manifesto Cites Blockchain as Game Changer:  As the political landscape in South Africa gets hot ahead of the general elections in May, the ruling party – African National Congress’ (ANC)’s President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed their manifesto that termed advancement of blockchain and crypto tech as a top priority.

And it does appear that there is more meat to this rather than just political lip service as the Government already has developed a new assets regulatory working group to maximize the potential of cryptocurrency. Similarly, another factfinder project — Project Koha, underway in collaboration with multiple financial institutes, and the SA Reserve Bank has also reported positive results when it comes to high volumes blockchain payments.

Congo

Ford Will Fight Child Labor in Africa Using Blockchain: According to Reuters, the American car manufacturing giant Ford has teamed up with the likes of IBM, LG Chem, and Huayou Cobalt to design a common blockchain platform that tracks down cobalt coming from Congo that is ultimately used in Ford’s lithium-ion batteries.

The project looks to cut down the rampant child labor at the cobalt mines in Congo, where minors are worked against their will often in life-threatening conditions, as it will try to detect and track down such instances and completely ban and boycott suppliers who are involved or connected with these heinous crimes.

Israel

Israel’s Top Cargo Shipping Firm Zim Opens Blockchain Platform to All Clients:  Zim, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, has announced the launch of its blockchain platform for all clients using electronic bills of lading (eB/Ls).

After completing a year-long pilot of its blockchain-powered eB/Ls platform, the firm claims that blockchain can replace the existing paper-based processes and dramatically improve the workflow. To prove this, two recent transactions were conducted in less than two hours each using the blockchain-based platform, whereas they used to take multiple days or even weeks earlier.

Bahrain

University of Bahrain Will Issue Diplomas on the Blockchain Employing Blockcerts: The University of Bahrain has announced the issuance of diplomas on the blockchain in a bid to encourage the development and adoption of the technology in the country.

The institute, using the Blockcerts open standard, has developed the diploma program in collaboration with Learning Machine, a startup that provides a system to issue verifiable official records through the blockchain-anchored format. Last year, the Government of Bahrain stressed the importance of the blockchain technology, and termed it as “a true mark of progress.”  This particular initiative is also part of that ideology, as it aims to offer an overall digitization strategy for mobile learners.

United Arab Emirates

UAE Telecom Operator du Announces Blockchain Solution For Fake Drugs: UAE-based telecom operator du has revealed its latest weapon in the war against fake drugs, as it announced the launch of a Blockchain Platform as a Service (BPaaS) at the Unlock Blockchain Conference in Dubai. The patient-centric safety blockchain solution allows users to verify the origin and metadata of the medicines, and after the data is entered onto the distributed ledger, there is no possibility for manipulation.

This allows complete accountability for pharmaceutical products and increases transparency in the distribution system. Developed in collaboration with MedTech solutions provider Dhonor HealthTech, it will enable easy identification and removal of fake drugs from the supply chain.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 12th to 18th January 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

South Africa Deliberating Tax with the Crypto Task Force: The South African government has set the wheels into motion to create a crypto task force and include all the cryptocurrency activities into the tax net.

The group consists of representatives from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, Financial Intelligence Centre, the SA Revenue Service (SARS), Treasury, and the Reserve Bank as they aim to develop a unified intergovernmental regulatory framework while ensuring that losses on cryptocurrencies are only offset against profits from the same system, a phenomenon known as ring-fencing.

Kidnappers Demand Bitcoin Ransom for Missing Nine-Year-Old: As the saga unfolds following the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl known as Linathi Titshala, possible kidnappers have recently sent an anonymous message demanding a ransom of 5 BTC ($19,200) for the girl’s return.

The message was sent to the anti-crime group Western Cape Gangwatch, who said to have tried to trace the email’s source via the Bitcoin address but failed since it was probably created at an internet cafe with an untraceable IP address.

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Electoral Commission to Conduct Pilot Test of Electronic Results Transmission: After the earlier success of electronic results transmission back in 2015 during the off-season elections, Nigeria’s Electoral Commission (INEC) has recently announced a pilot run of the system ahead of 2019 general elections.

Although Nigeria’s current Electoral Act doesn’t allow any provision for its adoption, the officials hope that the success of the test run will compel lawmakers to press for a much-needed change in the legislation.

Kenya

Cryptocurrency Regulation Battle Intense in Africa, Regulators Pin Down Suspicious Cryptocurrency Projects: Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA) has recently warned the users of Kenya’s up-and-coming crypto tokens company KeniCoin about possible fraudulent activities. KeniCoin was launched in July 2018 and promised its users 10% monthly ROI.

CMA published the report in the wake of the ongoing investigations of KeniCoin’s parent company ‘Wiseman Talent Ventures’ and has already highlighted drastic discrepancies in the information on the KeniCoin website and the interviews given to the authorities.

Israel

Gold Reserves to Bitcoin Reserves: Nick Szabo on Crypto in 2019: History of currencies, scope of Bitcoin as a mode of payment, and predictions on the future developments; the first Israel Bitcoin Summit at Tel Aviv University had it all as the early pioneer Nick Szabo, and Bitcoin’s probable founder, Satoshi Nakamoto graced the event with their presence.

Among all the presentations, the highlights included Szabo’s claims that all central banks may soon be inclined to supplement their gold reserves with cryptocurrency. He also remarked that 2019 could see the adoption of the Lightning Network, which would allow two users to make payments to each other almost instantaneously.

Turkey

Interest-free payment platform developed in Turkey: Turkish Blockchain payment platform, MenaPay, has announced that it will launch the first-ever Islamic finance based payment methods to accommodate their large Muslim userbase. This will allow the residents of MENA region to utilize the safety of blockchain technology and leverage MenaPay Platform’s payment transparency while abiding by the religious obligations.

MenaPay has already made headway into the market thanks to its QR code payment system which allows all transactions to be executed within 5 seconds, and this move puts them on the path to becoming the largest cashless service in the MENA region.

UAE

UAE Wants 50% of Government Business on Blockchain by 2021: UAE Government has announced the launch of two new initiatives under the title “the AI and Blockchain Guide initiative.”

The program aims to allow the federal government to develop a standardized system to define and regulate blockchain technology and AI while streamlining the way to implement the technologies across all the smart cities in the seven emirates. The initiative will also focus on training and educating all relevant authorities on these technologies and integrate them in all sectors of the economy.

UAE’s Etisalat Picks Startups for Ai and Blockchain Scale-Up Program: Dubai-based telecommunication giant Etisalat recently announced that it had chosen four startups for the development of AI and blockchain technologies for its “Future Now” scale-up program.

The program offers the participants to access Etisalat’s digital resources, expertise, and office space and develop joint applications for the company’s client base. Among the companies chosen were China’s Yitu Technology, UAE’s Com IoT Technologies, Hong Kong’s 300cubits, and USA’s Tradefin.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 5th to 11th January 2019 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 19

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Cryptocurrency Regulatory Working Group Formed by the Government: In an effort to be more decisive and inclusive in cryptocurrency regulation, the South African government has announced the formation of a local working group task with the responsibility of formulating regulations and getting input from the industry.

According to a letter by Tito Mboweni, the Finance Minister of the country, the Cryptocurrency Asset Working Group will not just focus on cryptocurrencies but all other facets of the industry including blockchain technology and its wide range of applications.

According to the Minister:

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019.”

It remains to be seen what will be the constitution of this latest working group.

Nigeria

Investors Training Nigerians on Cryptocurrency Trading Profitability: To encourage more investment and trading in the sector, cryptocurrency trading experts are tutoring an emerging generation of traders in the country to become more profitable in trading cryptocurrencies.

Ian Balina, an acclaimed bitcoin trader and investor said that trading can be a profitable investment for youngsters if they can understand more about its working. Faith Titus, the co-founder of Blockchain Nigeria User Group believes that it is necessary for one to be educated in order to succeed in the sector. Toyosi Abolarin, the Lead Project Manager at Venture Garden Group endorsed the government’s efforts to regulate the industry fairly and believed it will boost trading.

Zimbabwe

Reserve Bank Declares Cryptocurrencies a Threat to the Nation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is continuing its anti-cryptocurrency stance by declaring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a threat to the nation.

Governor  Dr. John Mangudya made these comments in an official statement, saying that all cryptocurrency investments have no legal protection and they are prone to embezzlement as well as being used in Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

While the government has taken a hardline stance in the country, many Zimbabweans are turning to cryptocurrencies to avoid the crippling hyperinflation prevalent in the country. This is also the reason why cryptocurrencies are being traded at a heavy premium in the country.

Israel

Israel Blockchain Industry Survives Despite Tough Year: The Israeli Blockchain industry has had a tough year as dozens of new projects were scrapped because of lack of regulatory approval and fears of government crackdown which hasn’t materialized yet. Despite the tough year, many blockchain projects have survived and are looking to build on their survival with a little help from the government if needed.

Sirin Labs rolled out the first blockchain smartphone in the country and may look to build on its initial success despite the high price tag of the phone. There are other exchanges and new startups that made money in the course of 2018, but in the end, due to the price tank of Bitcoin and regulatory challenges, the kind of growth expected in the industry didn’t happen. Still, innovators are looking at 2019 with hope.

Turkey

Countries Looking to Abandon US Dollar May See Cryptocurrencies as an Alternative: Several notable economies in the world including Turkey, Russia, China, etc are looking to undercut the dominance of the US Dollar in the market by adopting alternative ways of payments, with cryptocurrencies being eyed as a possible alternative.

While China is beefing up gold reserves for this purpose, Turkey has had a bad experience because of its dependence on the greenback with the local currency Lira losing as much as 25% at one time because of an ongoing diplomatic tussle with the US. P2P cryptocurrency trading platform LocalBitcoins.com noticed a considerable spike in trading volumes during the tense period. With cryptocurrencies gaining popularity in the country, the government may also look to adopt them from a strategic point of view.

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The post Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 19 appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.